From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 4–8—Caney examines "building" in its broadest sense, encompassing everything from skyscrapers and bridges to bird feeders and peanut-shell "bricks." Opening sections investigate the history and techniques of construction, with clearly written explanations supported by black-and-white photographs and diagrams. By examining such wide-ranging examples as tree houses, chimneys, and beaver dams, the author reinforces important concepts of design in a way that is fascinating and effective. Background sections on topics such as "adhesives, tapes, and mechanical fasteners" offer useful reference data, and are also thought-provoking. The engaging overview provides strong context for the more than 300 pages of creative and appealing projects that follow. Mosquito traps, newspaper tepees, and a usable greenhouse are just a few intriguing examples. Instructions are clear enough for kids to follow, but also open-ended to encourage creativity and experimentation. Diagrams delineate key steps, while photos show kids constructing and using the products. Building materials are either household items (including toothpicks, plastic straws, and coat hangers) or easy-to-obtain supplies like PVC pipe (used for a lemonade stand, cat playground, and more). Grouped by material type, such as blocks, rods, and panels, the projects successfully demonstrate how choices of design, construction, and raw materials apply to key principles of tension and compression. Portions of this book are especially useful for reference facts and science projects. Taken as a whole, it's a comprehensive exploration of building presented in a way that leads to true learning and a lot of fun.—Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR
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About the Author
Steven Caney is an inventor and designer who consults with major corporations and is renowned as a creative problem-solver. He has written many best-selling and award-winning children’s titles, including Steven Caney’s Invention Book and Steven Caney’s Kids’ America. He works outside Boston and resides in rural New Hampshire.