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Steven Caney's Invention Book Paperback – January 6, 1985
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Lively information, clear diagrams and directions and numerous photographs... -- Booklist
From the Back Cover
You can also rig up a Bubble Bath Bucket using a tin can, a shoelace, and a bar of soap. You can make a bookend for records that is a record, and a Bookshelf Safe for valuables that is a book. There's a hammock to fashion from nothing but tightly rolled newspapers and clothesline, and still more: fly catchers and back scratchers, minimum-maximum constructions, a Funnel String Dispenser, a Portable Bleacher Pillow. Steven Caney's Invention Book leads kids ages 10 and up directly into the world of creativity. Caney shows kids how to get started tinkering on their own. He tells the stories beind many products that are now household words and urges consideration of hundreds of invention possibilities, such as a Robot Referee or a Loose Tooth Puller-both of which remain in dire need of invention at this very moment. Illustrations and photographs throughout.
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The first half of the book contains advice on how to develop, patent, and market inventions, along with a couple of cool projects to try. That may sound geeky, but trust me -- it's well-written in an unpatronizing, yet clear, style. Even if you do not really want to invent something, Caney offers a museum-like look into the process of invention. This includes many informational boxes, containing everything from the history of the robot to basic marketing tips.
The second half of the book consists of "35 Great American Invention Stories," covering such inventions as basketball, earmuffs, Life Savers, and the Xerox machine. Each story is easy to follow and written in the same clear, unpatronizing style of the first half of the book. Caney also includes "Fantasy Inventor's Notebook" and "Fantasy Inventions" with each story, for inspiration. Some are humorous, some sci-fi-ish, some serious.
As I have written, the book's contents are divided in fairly small chapters and information boxes, and there are hundreds of photographs and illustrations. The effect is rather like that of a museum: the reader can pick and choose which parts to look over, which to skim over, which to examine in depth...
If you know of any child or young adolescent who might even remotely enjoy this stuff, the Invention Book will make a perfect gift.