Hot Topics Great Inventions
Review by Molly
Content topics included in this HOT TOPICS: Great Inventions volume include: What Makes Things Work, When Was the Wheel Invented, What Were the Earliest Boats Like, How Were Planes Invented, When Was The Microscope Invented, How is Cloth Made, When Was the Clock Invented, Who Invented Printing, How is Sound Recorded, When Was The Telephone Invented, How Was Television Invented, When Was the Computer Invented, How Have Inventions Changed Our Lives, Are All Inventions Successful, Index.
As with other Hot Topics books each topic is shown across a two page spread.† Each topic is richly illustrated with colored drawings as well as small sound bite facts scattered amidst the images.
Introduced first is a spread re what makes things work, it is the foundation for inventions to follow. Wind machines, water wheels, turbines, windmills, all guide young readers to a better understanding that before engines were invented nature was the only source of power available. Animal, wind and water were utilized by our ancestors; they continue to be used in many areas of the world today.
My resident critics - 4th grade settled in for a "listening for a purpose" session. The kids take their job as student critics very seriously. They listen intently, study illustrations, discuss the work's suitability for use in our classroom, or another and offer suggestions for improvement if needed. The kids agree The Hot Topics books are meant "for us." My first graders are now enjoying the book with as much enthusiasm as their older counterparts.
Child friendly illustrations, verbiage and subjects are received with enthusiasm. The kids were particularly taken with illustrations of early wheeled vehicles they saw on the pages of HOT TOPICS: Great Inventions. The three wheel car that looks like a carriage, steam tractor built in 1769 and the first motorcycle that looks like a bicycle with an engine were particularly fascinating for the children. One of our class projects is construction of fur trade keel boats; the two page spread detailing early boats has been read and re read by 4th grade students.
I personally am fascinated with the pages featuring early clocks. In the early days people had little need for clocks, their day was regulated by sunlight. With the advent of clocks our activities and sense of time have become far different. Children who use cell phones with aplomb were fascinated with the pages detailing the invention of the telephone.
The children and I have studied the pages showing the inventions that have changed our lives; the microwave and modern automatic washing machine were easily recognized by 4th graders. The early vacuum cleaner was a monster, and the early Victorian flush toilet with the tank soaring above the ornate commode are eye catching for children and teacher alike.
The vivid colors of the highly embellished cover illustrating an early printing press, a modern computer, in addition to a depiction of the first light bulb held the children's interest instantly. We often research inventors and their inventions on the internet, the children were pleased that many of the items they have researched appear on the pages of this book.
The class agrees HOT TOPICS: Great Inventions is a grand addition to our class library shelf. The book is seldom found on the shelf; it is most often found in the hands of a child whenever the children have an inquiry concerning early inventions. I am always delighted to spy groups of children with the book talking to one another, asking questions and finding answers while¬† chattering excitedly about the illustrations.
HOT TOPICS: Great Inventions is a highly researched work filled with innumerable specifics and child pleasing illustrations. The kids again turned to the world map as they located London and China; the book is published by a British Publisher and is printed in China. Excellent addition to our classroom library, highly recommended for the public and school library, the personal reading list and the classroom library.
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These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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