Copycat: Nature-Inspired Design Around the World

Lee & Low. Sept. 2022. 40p. Tr $20.95. ISBN 9781643792309.
Gr 1-5–Fifteen innovative inventions from all over the world are highlighted in this fascinating look at nature-inspired design, or biomimicry. From birds to bullet trains, beetles to water bottles, and honeycomb to housing projects, each invention focuses on ways it imitates a physical characteristic of an animal, plant, or habitat. Children will delight in such futuristic designs as an armadillo-inspired collapsible car and a flexible robotic arm with octopus-like tentacles. Spreads with colorful illustrations and spare, lyrical text written in the form of Japanese tanka poems (which follow a set number of syllables on each line) invite careful attention to both words and pictures. Whether this is a science book written as poetry, or a poetry book written about science, the text could easily be adapted to lessons from the primary grades all the way though middle school. Back matter includes a detailed description of each invention and its natural counterpart, author’s notes explaining more about nature-inspired design and Japanese tanka poems, and an extensive list of sources.
VERDICT A fascinating and creative look at a little-known STEM topic that is accessible to a wide audience. Highly recommended.

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