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Biography for Beginners: Inventors

Review

Booklist

December 1, 2006

Beginning with Greek Mathematician and Inventor Archimedes, 83 entries of 85 relevant inventors (the Montgolfier and Wright brothers are paired in single entries) are acknowledged in this latest edition to the Biography for Beginners series. Most are American-born or immigrated to America, but some inventors from elsewhere in the world are represented. Seven women are included. Entries, arranged alphabetically, cover achievements and discoveries in the fields of communication, electricity, medicine, transportation, commerce, and agriculture. In addition to the expected, such as George Washington Carver and Alexander Fleming, students will read about the achievements of Rachel Fuller Brown, co-creator of the first anti-fungal antibiotic; Temple Grandin, inventor of equipment for the humane treatment of livestock; and Garrett Morgan, inventor of the traffic signal and the gas mask.

Entries average around six pages in length are presented in a standard format. Following the heading, which furnishes the inventor's name, birth and death dates, country of origin, and a statement of achievement, the text chronicles pertinent information regarding early childhood, education, personal life, career, and the history of the invention. Attention is paid to successes and failures, particularly those that ironically lead to unexpected discoveries. Cross-referencing directs the reader to other inventors in the volume. A list of available Web sites for further inquiry and investigation completes each entry. Black-and-white photographs, illustrations, and portraits are integrated into individual articles. An appendix consisting of a "Timeline of Inventors and Inventions" presents a visual historical perspective.

Clearly intended for the younger researcher, this well-presented, introductory account serves as a tool for investigation and for preparing reports. The price makes it affordable for inclusion in any elementary school or public library.

Libraians' Comments

"These are perfect for introductory information. I like the broad scope, arrangement and reading level of the volumes." -- Donna Puller, Smethport, PA.

"I really like your biographies. They are easy for my students to use." --Anne Bainbridge, Louisville, KY.

"The reading level is fine for 3rd and up, and not too easy for older grades. The type of information is just what's needed, and the explanatory content is helpful." --Nancy Mark, Canton, MA.

 

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