Skip to main content

How Things Work: Discover Secrets and Science Behind Bounce Houses, Hovercraft, Robotics, and Everything In Between by T.J. Resler, 208pp, RL 4



This was true with my own children, but especially now that I am an elementary school librarian, I see how much kids love a highly visual non-fiction book with chunks of information scattered across the pages. National Geographic Kids recognizes this as well and has become a go-to publisher of encyclopedic books. With How Things Work: Discover Secrets and Science Behind Bounce Houses, Hovercraft, Robotics, and Everything In Between by T.J. Resler, this format gets an extra layer of (shh! educational material) with features on innovators in their industries and a really cool "Try This!" section in each of the five chapters that gives kids easy experiments and crafts to create at home.

 

Resler's approach with How Things Work is to grab kids with flashy, fun things like bounce houses, hoverboards and rollercoasters and explore the science related to these marvels. I especially like how Resler begins Chapter 1, Beam Me Up, "Cool gadgets and scientific discoveries don't just come from laboratories. Many are dreamed up in the minds of storytellers." There is even a timeline of science fiction imaginings that have come to fruition in one way or another.




Every chapter of How Things Work includes a "Just the Facts" page where readers can find quick answers about how things work s well as a "Tell Me More" page where they can delve deeper into the science of it all. I really enjoyed the section on tablets and touch screens, particularly a factoid about British novelist E.M. Forster, author of A Room with a View, among others, an a science fiction story he wrote in 1909 (who knew?) where "people communicated through handheld round plates, a type of live video call." There is also a great feature in each chapter, Tales from the Lab, where I learned that Hollywood starlet Hedy Lamarr and composer friend George Antheil patented an invention that allowed secret communications to be transmitted during WWII, thwarting the Nazis.



How Things Work includes an extensive glossary as well as a great "Find Out More" section with websites, videos and books for kids to explore. How Things Work is a great appetizer, filled with images and ideas that will get kids thinking. It's also a great jumping off point for deeper explorations and experiments!



Source: Review Copy

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo Cabret) The Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!

Be…