The author of Inventions That Could Have Changed the World but Didn’t (2015) mocks, or occasionally tips his hat to, a further set of outlandish contraptions.
Actually this is more of a spinoff, and an inferior one at that. Several of the same inventions stage encore appearances, Rhatigan’s descriptive comments are more cursory overall, and actual patent drawings have been dropped, leaving only cartoons that supply more yuks than insight into how the gadgets work. Still, some products, such as bird diapers marketed as “FlightSuits,” armpit air conditioners, and the 42-string “Pikasso” guitar built for Pat Metheny, have gone beyond the conceptual stage, and the author takes care to identify the creators of nearly everything here. Also, there are plenty of truly noodle-headed notions to chortle over (or abhor): a motorized baby carriage; a protective tongue sleeve for cat lickers; a frameless bicycle (“for people who needed more excitement and injuries in their lives”); and a baby onesie that’s also a floor mop. In her geometrically stylized illustrations, Aires at least visualizes each invention in action, and her wedge-shaped human figures come in all sorts of primary colors.
Good fun, if less grist for young would-be Edisons than the earlier outing. (Nonfiction. 8-11)