How do you teach kids about pulleys, wedges, cranks, and levers (to say nothing of physics and engineering)? Tell a tale of goofball invention collectors, of course!
A kid testing a homemade rocket launcher runs into a troupe of adults on the hunt for cool things to put in their Museum of Inventionology. With every discovery they make at the construction site they explore, be it wheelbarrow, jackhammer, or crane, they indulge in wild speculation as to what the object is only to be corrected by the kid. Each correction not only includes diagrams on how the object works, but also its history and the science behind its success. By the end, though, the hunters are no wiser; they feature wildly inaccurate explanations of their acquisitions in their museum. Jovial and goofy, the multiracial pack of men and women come across as nothing so much as a troupe of scientifically inclined Amelia Bedelias with lab coats instead of aprons. (Their kid guide presents white.) Kids will laugh uproariously—not just at their mistakes, but from the profusion of toilet gags and diagrams (with a dead fish named “Mrs. Bubbles” standing in for fecal matter). The trick is in realizing that while the book is funny, the science is sound.
Like the love child of David Macaulay and Captain Underpants, this routinely silly, genuinely intelligent deep dive into engineering basics leaves kids as informed as they are amused. (Informational picture book. 6-9)