Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

So you want to be an inventor?

So you want to be an inventor?

Judith St. George
Illustrator:   David Small 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 8 to 12
Penguin, 2002   ISBN: 978-0399235931

Do you love to make things with your hands? Do you find tinkering with machines titillating? Do you think that you would like to become an inventor? If you said yes to these questions you might find it useful to take a look at the lives and work of inventors who have gone before you.

One thing you need to keep in mind is that you don't need to be a grown up to become an inventor. Benjamin Franklin invented his first inventions when he was only twelve. Better still, you can keep on inventing until you are quite grey. So get to work and don't waste time. Make sure that you identify a need though. There is no point inventing something that no one is going to use or buy. Perhaps you can invent something that would make your own life easier the way Cyrus McCormick and Elijah McCoy did. Or perhaps you can invent something quite unique that you dream up all by yourself. Where would the world be today if Alexander Graham Bell had not "dreamed of people talking across distances."

This is a truly inspiring collection of stories about inventors and the inventions that they created. With humor and a clever use of language the author makes history, biography and science entertaining and accessible. She reminds her readers that the inspiration for inventions can be found anywhere and everywhere, and that it pays to persevere even if you fail, and even if other people laugh at you. She also makes sure that her readers remember that women have also been great inventors, that inventors come in all shapes and sizes, and that they come from all walks of life.

With his signature watercolor illustrations, David Small brings the inventors and their creations mentioned in this book to life. Often humorous and always wonderful to look at, the illustrations are perfectly suited to the carefully researched and engaging text.