101 Things You Wish You'd Invented and Some You Wish No One Had by Richard Horne and Tracey Turner
|101 Things You Wish You'd Invented and Some You Wish No One Had by Richard Horne and Tracey Turner
|Category: Children's Non-Fiction
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy
|Summary: Witty and interesting cover of 101 inventions from vital, to useful, to plain silly. Lots and lots of fun trivia, combined with great ideas for things to do. It's a high quality entrant into a rather crowded interesting trivia market.
|Date: May 2008
Gearing up for the long school summer holidays yet? If not, you probably should be. It always pays to plan in advance. Bored children aren't a pretty sight. You could certainly prepare yourself well by taking a look at the latest in Bloomsbury's 101 Things To Do series. This one is Things You Wish You'd Invented and it entertained me for a good few hours.
The 101 inventions range from vital, to useful, to just plain silly. Homework machine, anyone? Who invented bling? Well, the first diamond miners came from the Indus Valley around 300 BC but the Chinese first made jewellery in 3000 BC. They weren't keen on diamonds - they used them as cutting tools for jade. The Chinese appear a lot in this book - they used the first compasses in 200 BC but they didn't write the first poem; that comes from Iraq, circa 2000 BC. There's more modern stuff too - fancy finding out about the first cosmetic surgeries? What about stuff that hasn't been invented yet? How close are we to teleportation?
It's all fascinating stuff - accurate and interesting and chosen for its information value rather than its soundbite. The information here deep and plentiful. Too often these little trivia books are based on the thinnest of strands, spun out endlessly to make a rather empty book, making plenty of sound but signifying very little. Not so here.
But it's not just a good read - each invention is accompanied by a related activity. This can be as simple as a template for a game of battleships, or as techie as mocking up a basic thermometer or a working model submarine. Some appeal to the wordy children - learning Pig Latin for instance. Others appeal to the sporty child, the crafty child and the child who's worried about the environment. I could fill the entire looming six weeks using just this book, I really could.
There is a lot of rubbish in this market. 101 Things You Wish You'd Invented isn't rubbish. It's a high quality entrant into this rather crowded market. Not everything inside will inspire every child into a happy afternoon's activity, but there is at least something for everyone. It's definitely worth the £6.99 cover price and comes recommended by Bookbag.
My thanks to the nice people at Bloomsbury for sending the book.
If they like this sort of thing, they could also try Why is Snot Green? by Glenn Murphy or Teenage Kicks: 101 Things to Do Before You're 16 by Clive Gifford.
You can read more book reviews or buy 101 Things You Wish You'd Invented and Some You Wish No One Had by Richard Horne and Tracey Turner at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy 101 Things You Wish You'd Invented and Some You Wish No One Had by Richard Horne and Tracey Turner at Amazon.com.
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I wish they did something like that for 7 year olds!!!!
I seemed to have 3 on my hands for at least half of the bloody holiday, and even learned to face paint out of desperation.
Ha. Sympathies. My house has just been full of noise. TVs, computers, game consoles. Face painting sounds so genteel!
She uses headphones on the computer, doesn't have a game console until she's 7 (she's begged a DS for that) and we still don't have the telly.
There's plenty enough noise made by human beings, though. I SHOUT. She SHRIEKS. Michael BAWLS. Alex swears and plays guitair.