INVENTIONS EXPLAINED by Richard Platt

INVENTIONS EXPLAINED

A Beginner's Guide to Technological Breakthroughs
Age Range: 8 - 11

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Platt (Stephen Biesty's Incredible Explosions, 1996, etc.) doesn't really explain inventions here, as David Macaulay did in The Way Things Work (1988); rather, he makes note of them and their time frame and how they benefitted humans. The structure of the book is chronological, starting with early tools and the use of fire and proceeding to, with many stops between, the X-30 spaceplane. The strength of the book is the way it conveys the global nature of inventions--from Chinese gunpowder to Peruvian reed boats, Persian windmills, and African bellows--and how they fit snuggly with the requirements of the places in which they were created. There are weaknesses here, too: Musical instruments never appear, discoveries are confused with inventions (DNA is included), and much is left unexplained--how does the astrolabe work, why did Gramme's dynamo stay cool and generate constant current, what is silk? Worse is the relentlessly upbeat narrative: ``Today scientists and engineers . . . create smart new machines which make our lives better,'' Platt chirps, with no cautionary notes--the genetic engineering of plants goes uncontested, livestock farms warrant ungarnished accolades. (diagrams, chronology, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 31st, 1997
ISBN: 0-8050-4876-6
Page count: 70pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1997




MORE BY RICHARD PLATT

ChildrenTHROUGH TIME: NEW YORK CITY by Richard Platt
by Richard Platt
ChildrenROMAN DIARY by Richard Platt
by Richard Platt
ChildrenMOON LANDING by Richard Platt
by Richard Platt

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenBIOMIMICRY by Dora Lee
by Dora Lee
ChildrenA HISTORY OF JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING by Elizabeth MacLeod
by Elizabeth MacLeod