From School Library Journal
Grade 4-8--Platt organizes his introductions to inventors and inventions around "eureka moments" when scientific breakthroughs occurred. Two-page topical entries include a brief biography of the scientist, an account of the pivotal event, and an explanation of what happened next. The author's 29 examples include such familiar stories as Eli Whitney and the cotton gin and Edward Jenner and the smallpox vaccination. Other accounts, such as that of Percy Spencer and the microwave, are more obscure. A final chapter considers inventions such as the Internet, which resulted from teamwork and long-term development rather than a single discovery. Although the author mentions that "the contributions of female and black inventors" have been undervalued, he does little to reverse the trend. He mentions no developments by women, and Elijah McCoy is the only African-American inventor included. Colorful photographs, reproductions, and drawings appear on every spread, sometimes resulting in a cluttered look. Small-print captions increase the visual confusion. Although not as well executed as Stephen Tomecek's What a Great Idea!
(Scholastic, 2003), this volume offers enough different information to warrant purchase for report writers and browsers.--Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato
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About the Author
Richard Platt is the author of more than fifty books for children. He is the author of Eureka! which was chosen as a 2004 Outstanding Science Trade Book by the CBC and NSTA.