A wonderfully realized introduction to a fascinating, long-overlooked woman.

Josephine Cochrane saw a need and overcame obstacles to find a solution.

She resented the time that was taken by the job of hand-washing stacks of dishes. Josephine’s mantra became “There must be a better way!” and, stirred to create a device that would end this onerous task, she studied past attempts, sketched, measured, calculated, tinkered, and designed, and began building the hand-cranked machine with the aid of George Butters, a mechanic and, later, her business partner. Her husband’s death called a halt for a long time as she slowly paid off debts. She then returned to her efforts and finally received a patent in 1886. Further difficulties ensued as Josephine attempted to start a manufacturing business, as investors would not back a woman. But when her dishwashing machine won first prize at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, she was on her way to great success supplying dishwashers to hotels, restaurants, schools, and hospitals, always improving with more patents. Though Cochrane’s may not be a household name, Hannigan seeks to change that, presenting the events chronologically and factually, interspersing the narration with quotes and information about other inventors of the period, women included. Green’s bright digital illustrations capture Josephine’s determination and emotions and enhance the text with diagrams, sketches, and charming homey details, including dishes and tools floating by. Cochrane was White; some background characters are diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A wonderfully realized introduction to a fascinating, long-overlooked woman. (author’s note, copy of patent, notable women inventors, photos, timeline of fascinating inventions, sources, picture credits) (Informational picture book. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 14, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-63592-621-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Astra Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Nov. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2022



Fans of Terry Deary and Martin Brown’s Horrible Histories and their ilk are unlikely to consider this latest imitation more than an also-ran. Oliver surveys British history from the Isles’ Ice Age formation to the not-exactly-hot-off-the-presses 2005 news that London will host the 2012 Olympics. Though accurate enough in his broad picture, the author’s debatable facts (“…the Romans introduced really useful things such as toilets and even vegetables to the people of Britain”) and awkwardly written generalizations (“The Celtic kings consulted religious advisors to help them rule, known as druids”) drag the bland text down even further. Pinder's pen-and-ink illustrations attempt snark but too often fall flat: “That girl was always getting in my way,” remarks Bloody Mary as Lady Jane Grey’s newly severed head bounces by. This catalog of major British kings, queens, wars, pivotal events and cultural milestones is unlikely to entertain—much less resonate with—American audiences. (index, royal timeline) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-906082-72-7

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Buster/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2010




Thirteen prominent American men and women are briefly profiled in this collection. Chronologically ranging from Thomas Jefferson to Barack Obama, each entry features an inspiring quote from its subject and a concise explanation of his or her context in history. Opposite each page of text is a watercolor painting by the author depicting an image or montage of the notable individual and illustrating the work they achieved or how they lived. Each one evokes the emotions the book is meant to inspire: courage, strength and determination. Franklin Roosevelt gazes reassuringly out at readers above a line of hungry people at a soup kitchen; Rachel Carson smiles at readers against a picture of a soaring bald eagle and an inset of her peering into a microscope. The selection includes four women and five male ethnic minorities. Almost all are familiar faces in collective biographies, including Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, but some names may be new to young readers, such as Emma Lazarus and Cesar Chavez. Included in the backmatter are thumbnail biographies of each figure and a list of source notes. The profiles are indeed inspiring, and younger readers will likely learn something new. For deeper research, students will have to look elsewhere but could use this book as an excellent starting point. (Collective biography. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8225-6810-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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