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by Steve Parker, illustrated by John Kelly

Age Range: 12 - 14

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
ISBN: 1-57036-269-6

 Quirky, humorous, frequently gross anecdotes about science, scientists, inventions, and discoveries fill this book, subtitled ``5,000 Years of Mishaps and Misunderstandings'' and profusely illustrated with busy, weird cartoons in a magazine-like layout. Readers who relished The Robot Zoo and Everyday Machines will enjoy this effort even if they are not familiar with the great names of science: Pliny, Ptolemy, Alhazen, Galen, Newton, Mendel, and Volta (women are all but invisible--Marie Curie gets a mention as do the sirens of Greek myth, but that's about it). The topics include theories about the age and origin of the world, information on plagues of pesky animals, the search for life on other planets, early medicine, a history of flight, experiments with electricity, accidental discoveries, failed constructions, etc. This is a browsing book: There are no sources given, no chronologies, and no biographical information on any of the people, whose ideas are not presented in the context of their times. Although both a table of contents and an index are provided, they are not always useful: Many of the pages do not include folios, making some flipping back and forth for information inevitable. (Nonfiction. 12-14)