What’s the BIG Idea?
Inventions that Changed Life on Earth Forever
by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Steve Attoe
Maple Tree Press, 2009
$19.95, 96 pp, colour illustrations, index, ages 8 – 12
Author Helaine Becker introduces this lively, colourful book with the explanation that all inventions spring from an attempt to meet one of six basic needs. She continues with short explanations of why and how a myriad of devices were invented over the ages, starting from Long, Long Ago (e.g., needle, wheel, plow) and Long Ago (e.g., printing press, clock, steam engine) and moving on to Not So Long Ago (e.g., car, telephone, plastic, computer) and What’s Next? which highlights some possible high-tech solutions to modern needs. There are also pages that introduce Big Thinkers who have influenced human inventions, and two-page spreads that illustrate a variety of inventions in particular settings (e.g., doctor’s office, classroom). Each page is designed to accommodate text, humourous illustrations and sidebars, all bound to capture the interest of the target audience—I can imagine pairs of students really enjoying reading and discussing this book together. There is a lot of information about human history contained in these 96 pages, delivered in a style that will entertain as well as educate.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s January 2010 issue.