Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Transformed: How Everyday Things Are Made

Transformed: How Everyday Things Are Made

Bill Slavin
For ages 8 to 10
Kids Can Press, 2005   ISBN: 978-1553371793

Have you ever wondered how your favorite chocolate bar came into being? Or what about those wonderful crayons that you use so much? How were they made? These days our lives are filled with so many things that are made in factories, and most of the time we have no idea how they were made. This did not used to be the way things were. In the past, people often made their clothes, their food, and their household necessities themselves, so they naturally knew how these things were put together or created. Nowadays we are far removed from the source of our footballs, our potato chips, our wool, and our paper. But, with this book in hand, we can find out how just some of our "everyday things" are made.

Bill Slavin divides his book into five sections. He looks at "Fun and Games" items, "Around the House" items, "Soup to Nuts" items, "Cover-ups" items, and "Back to Basics" items. For each item in these sections, whether they are teddy bears or peanut butter, you can follow the construction process step by step through annotated illustrations, which are not only wonderfully informative and easy to follow, but which are also quite humorous. Little construction workers of various kinds are hard at work on the projects, and they help us to understand the processes that are being described. Often informative boxes provide additional information about the fabrication process or the item in question.

Readers will have a wonderful time reading all about a wide selection of everyday things, many of  which make our lives more comfortable, more enjoyable, more tasty, and more fun. They will also find out about some of those basic things such as glass, paper, cement, brick, and lumber, without which life would be very difficult indeed.

Written with humor and an obvious appreciation for what will interest his young audience, this fascinating book with its clever illustrations is sure to become a fast favorite with readers who are curious about the world around them.