SO YOU WANT TO BE AN INVENTOR? by Judith St. George

SO YOU WANT TO BE AN INVENTOR?

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 10

KIRKUS REVIEW

Lightning doesn’t strike twice for the award-winning team of So You Want To Be President? (2000). Seeking to inspire young readers who like to “tinker with machines that clink and clank, levers that pull, bells that ring, cogs that grind, switches that turn on and off, wires that vibrate, dials that spin,” St. George reels off anecdotal, relentlessly exclamatory introductions to dozens of American and European inventors, from Gutenberg to Goodyear, George Washington to Clarence Birdseye. All of them, however, are dead, only three are women, and only two are nonwhite, so though their paths to success were diverse, as role models the people mentioned here make a limited gallery. Small mixes impressionistic renditions of featured inventions with freely drawn caricatures of their creators. As the overall visual tone is genial—even Joseph Guillotin is depicted proudly polishing his eponymous device as an anxious-looking matron is being positioned on it—the grim scene of ranked slaves feeding Whitney’s cotton gin brings a sudden dissonance that pays no more than lip service to the less salutary effects of the industrial revolution. The author finishes with an exhortation to break barriers that children of different cultural or racial backgrounds (not to mention girls) may find unconvincing, considering the examples offered, and closes with biographical notes on some—not all—of the names she’s dropped in the main text. The brief bibliography is a list of what may charitably be described as classic titles. Will this give some budding inventors that fire in the belly? Perhaps—but not as reliably as Don Wulffson’s Toys! Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions (2000) or Nathan Aaseng’s thematic collective biographies. (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-399-23593-0
Page count: 56pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2002




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