Light Bulb

ISBN 9781635923957; ISBN 9781635923964.
K-Gr 3–Did you know that the invention of the bicycle may have occurred after the devastating 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora? Or that the carbonization used in early light bulbs is not so different from the black coating on burnt toast? This series explores some of history’s greatest and most ubiquitous inventions. Bicycle looks at different momentous bicycle advances from around the globe, such as the French addition of pedals to the original ‘running machine’, or the Irish adoption of air-filled tires so it wasn’t such a bumpy ride. In contrast, Lightbulb has a much more intimate scope, focusing on a single person and place, specifically Thomas Edison and his work at Menlo Park. The illustrations in both are a real highlight, colorful and engaging, setting the historical scenes nicely while providing clear and engaging diagrams. There is a palpable sense of good cheer in the depictions of Edison’s lab staff celebrating with high fives or the little dog enjoying his ride in the basket of China’s famous Flying Pigeon bicycle. Back matter provides some extra fun facts (Amsterdam has more bikes than people!) and both books close with a message about how improved energy efficiency benefits the body and environment.
VERDICT Perfect for STEM lessons and future innovators, this fun and informative series has a lot to offer.

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