From School Library Journal
Grade 4-8-Wulffson shares the stories behind classic and commercial toy inventions such as Legos, Mr. Potato Head, Raggedy Ann, toy soldiers, Twister, checkers, and remote control cars. Readers will discover that some of the most popular creations were the products of experiments gone awry, thus providing a lesson in persistence, surprise outcomes, and creative thinking. Several pages of history are provided for each plaything, followed by bulleted trivia, such as "The ingredient that gives Play-Doh its distinctive aroma is vanilla." Keller's clever black-and-white cartoons add humor to the already-engaging text. A light read or a lively report source on inventions.
Victoria Kidd, Gwinnett County Public Library, Lawrenceville, GA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Wulffson follows up The Kid Who Invented the Popsicle (1997) with the sometimes quirky tales behind more than two dozen novelties, gadgets and games, from playing cards and wind-up toys to Play-Doh. Some (tops, seesaws) have long histories, some (whoopee cushions) only seem to have been around forever, and some (Trivial Pursuit) are of recent vintage. The author brushes in their origins and variations with broad strokes, livening the picture further with factoids at each chapter's end, and Keller's gnomic, black-and-white cartoon figures lighten the tone further by cracking wise on the side. The generalizations may sometimes shade over into oversimplifications (There is even an Asian religion based on kite flying), and there is nothing about Pokémon or other current crazes, but these accounts of the origins of super balls, Raggedy Ann, Legos, Twister, Pong and the like will give middle graders new insight into their parents' misspent youths--and a bibliography and a list of Web sites will give readers who want all the details a head start. (Nonfiction. 9-11) -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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