Invented by Animals: Meet the Creatures Who Inspired Our Everyday Technology

Wide Eyed Editions. Apr. 2021. 80p. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9780711260672.
Gr 1-5–Young inventors and scientists interested in learning about the features that enable animals to survive in their environments and how these features have been successfully adapted by human inventors will find a great deal of fascinating information here. The book presents double-page spreads about each animal, beginning with the mimic octopus, the blue morpho butterfly, and the shark. The information is presented in a spread that explains the animal’s unique feature and how humans have learned to adapt it in their own inventions. For example, the “super-zoom vision” of eagles inspired the development of the miniature camera, and the “formidable grip” of the tree frog has inspired auto tires that stick better to icy, wet roads and self-cleaning, reusable sticky tape. There are also spreads that emphasize how groups of animals (e.g., “Mighty Recyclers”) provide humans with ideas. Emphasis is placed on learning to observe the environmentally friendly ways of animals and apply them to everyday life. However, while the facts are fascinating, there are a few questionable aspects. First, the book’s subtitle is a little misleading because readers learn about how many features “could be used” or are currently being studied. Second, the animals address readers directly, often explaining how they have shared their secrets with humans. The illustrations, too, emphasize human-like features. The octopus wears glasses and a hat and holds a teacup, and the shark appears to be designing clothes. Still, this is an interesting, appealing book.
VERDICT An informative, well-illustrated book about animal adaptations that have sparked human technology.

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