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Inventions Inspired by Nature

by Dora Lee & illustrated by Margot Thompson

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-55453-467-8
Publisher: Kids Can

From Velcro fastenings to man-made marshes for wastewater processing, many modern innovations have sprung from observation and imitation of the natural world.

In topically organized double-page spreads, Lee describes shapes and structures, materials and designs, as well as systems for exploration, communication, rescue and delivery. Each spread offers a general introduction to its subject, set on a painted background, usually a natural scene. The canvas base of these acrylic paintings provides an interesting texture. Three or four specific examples, each with illustrative vignettes, follow or sometimes precede the general explanation. These topics range widely and include medical marvels, new power sources, biological computers and robots. Although this has the shape and look of a picture book, the relatively extensive text is clearly aimed at upper-elementary-school readers. It offers fewer specific examples than Phil Gates’ Nature Got There First (2010), but its explanations are clearer and it includes a strong ecological message: The most important natural model is the sustainable ecosystem. Through biomimicry, humans can learn to live in balance on the Earth as well. The author provides no sources or suggestions for further exploration, though her short descriptions are sure to lead readers to want to know more.

An intriguing collection of invention, engineering and scientific advances and potential developments for readers who like to know a little bit about a lot of things. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)