So You Want to Be an Inventor?
So You Want to Be an Inventor?
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Annotation: Presents some of the characteristics of inventors by describing the inventions of people such as Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and Eli Whitney.
Genre: Technology
Catalog Number: #4708427
Format: Paperback
No other formats available
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition Date: 2005
Illustrator: Small, David,
Pages: 53 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-14-240460-8
ISBN 13: 978-0-14-240460-7
Dewey: 608
LCCN: 2001055447
Dimensions: 30 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Lively energy infuses the work of this award-winning team. Indeed, there is at least one exclamation point on every page as they introduce all manner of interesting inventions. St. George strings her narrative together by noting characteristics of inventors: be a dreamer like Alexander Graham Bell; be stubborn like Charles Goodyear; find a need and fill it, like Cyrus McCormick. She also illustrates unintended consequences, such as the way the cotton gin promoted slavery. However, by including the line, Inventors aren't all men! she perpetrates an unintended consequence of her own. Of the 40-odd inventors noted, only three are women, including film star Hedy Lamarr, who helped invent wireless technology. That small number is misleading as those familiar with Ethlie Ann Vare's Mothers of Invention: Forgotten Women and their Unforgettable Ideas (1988) will know. Small's ink, watercolor, and pastel chalk illustrations have the same waggish charm as his Caldecott-winning So You Want to Be President? (2001). Gutenberg watches the pages fly off his printing press into the hands of Renaissance readers; Georges de Mestral sees visions of Velcro in the cockleburs stuck to his wool pants. A bibliography and biographical notes are appended.
Horn Book
St. George's breezy text introduces fifty inventors, a cursory treatment that reveals little about inventors, inventions, or a sense of inventiveness as a whole. Small's caricatures are clever and humorous but lack the multilayered sophistication so evident in the pair's So You Want to Be President? On the other hand, his recurring artistic theme, that there is dignity in the work one does, is nicely realized. Bib.
Kirkus Reviews
Lightning doesn't strike twice for the award-winning team of So You Want To Be President? (2000). Seeking to inspire young readers who like to "tinker with machines that clink and clank, levers that pull, bells that ring, cogs that grind, switches that turn on and off, wires that vibrate, dials that spin," St. George reels off anecdotal, relentlessly exclamatory introductions to dozens of American and European inventors, from Gutenberg to Goodyear, George Washington to Clarence Birdseye. All of them, however, are dead, only three are women, and only two are nonwhite, so though their paths to success were diverse, as role models the people mentioned here make a limited gallery. Small mixes impressionistic renditions of featured inventions with freely drawn caricatures of their creators. As the overall visual tone is genial—even Joseph Guillotin is depicted proudly polishing his eponymous device as an anxious-looking matron is being positioned on it—the grim scene of ranked slaves feeding Whitney's cotton gin brings a sudden dissonance that pays no more than lip service to the less salutary effects of the industrial revolution. The author finishes with an exhortation to break barriers that children of different cultural or racial backgrounds (not to mention girls) may find unconvincing, considering the examples offered, and closes with biographical notes on some—not all—of the names she's dropped in the main text. The brief bibliography is a list of what may charitably be described as classic titles. Will this give some budding inventors that fire in the belly? Perhaps—but not as reliably as Don Wulffson's Toys! Lightning doesn't strike twice for the award-winning team of So You Want To Be President? (2000). Seeking to inspire young readers who like to "tinker with machines that clink and clank, levers that pull, bells that ring, cogs that grind, switches that turn on and off, wires that vibrate, dials that spin," St. George reels off anecdotal, relentlessly exclamatory introductions to dozens of American and European inventors, from Gutenberg to Goodyear, George Washington to Clarence Birdseye. All of them, however, are dead, only three are women, and only two are nonwhite, so though their paths to success were diverse, as role models the people mentioned here make a limited gallery. Small mixes impressionistic renditions of featured inventions with freely drawn caricatures of their creators. As the overall visual tone is genial—even Joseph Guillotin is depicted proudly polishing his eponymous device as an anxious-looking matron is being positioned on it—the grim scene of ranked slaves feeding Whitney's cotton gin brings a sudden dissonance that pays no more than lip service to the less salutary effects of the industrial revolution. The author finishes with an exhortation to break barriers that children of different cultural or racial backgrounds (not to mention girls) may find unconvincing, considering the examples offered, and closes with biographical notes on some—not all—of the names she's dropped in the main text. The brief bibliography is a list of what may charitably be described as classic titles. Will this give some budding inventors that fire in the belly? Perhaps—but not as reliably as Don Wulffson's Toys! Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions (2000) or Nathan Aaseng's thematic collective biographies. (Nonfiction. 8-10)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-St. George and Small take a skewed, funny, and informative look at the history of inventions and their inventors and what it takes to become one. You don't need white hair and wrinkles, la the classic image of Ben Franklin. At 12, while still a rosy boy, he invented swim paddles for his hands and kick paddles for his feet. Being stubborn as a bulldog can help: Charles Goodyear spent 10 years messing about with raw rubber, bankrupting himself and going to debtor's prison, before he discovered the secret-sulfur-to making tires, tennis balls, etc. Elijah McCoy (the "real McCoy") invented an oil can that lubricated engines while still running and became not only an innovator but also an idiom. In brief sketches of nearly four dozen dreamers, from Henry Ford to Hedy Lamarr (who helped invent a system that became the basis for satellite communication), the message is simple: "There will always be barriers to be broken-. It takes passion and heart, but those barriers could be broken by you!" Small's lively, fluid caricatures make for a winning collaboration from the duo who brought us So You Want to Be President? (Philomel, 2000).-Dona Ratterree, New York City Public Schools Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references (page 52).
Word Count: 2,040
Reading Level: 4.9
Interest Level: 2-5
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.9 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 59144 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.8 / points:2.0 / quiz:Q31811
Lexile: 910L
Guided Reading Level: P
Fountas & Pinnell: P

St. George and Small, the Caldecott Medal-winning team who created So You Want to Be President?, are back with another spirited and witty look at history-this time focusing on the inventors and inventions who have given us lightbulbs, automobiles, and all the other things that keep the world humming.

So You Want to Be an Inventor? features some of the world's best-known inventors-Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Eli Whitney-as well as lesser-known geniuses like Georges de Mestral (inventor of Velcro), Wilhelm Roentgen (inventor of X rays), and Hedy Lamarr (inventor of a system that became the basis for satellite communication-who knew?). Whether you're a dreamer or a loner, a copycat or a daredevil, this book might just inspire readers to invent something that could change the world!


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