How To Become an Accidental Genius

MACLEOD, Elizabeth & . illus. by Jenn Playford. 128p. further reading. glossary. index. Orca. Apr. 2019. pap. $24.95. ISBN 9781459816763.
Gr 4–9—Tackling everything from Popsicles to fiber optics, from windshield wipers to rocket fuel, MacLeod and Wishinsky cover a variety of inventions that came about through serendipity, curiosity, and persistence. The authors devote two to three pages to each inventor, with illustrations, photographs, and sidebars. The book provides basic biographical information is provided and cultural and historical context. These brief overviews focus on how the invention itself came about. Inventors are categorized not chronologically but thematically, in sections such as "Don't be afraid to try," "Pay attention," "Be persistent," and "Don't make assumptions." Each precept is expounded upon in a chapter prologue and is carefully referenced in each vignette, in addition to being reprised at the end in a single list. A short glossary is included, though most terms are explained in context as well. Print and digital sources are listed. Many websites are personal (for contemporary inventors) or are specific to an invention (e.g., Slinky and Braille). Others are from notable addresses, such as MIT or the Encyclopedia of World Biography. Print sources are appropriate for readers who want to delve deeper into the topic.
VERDICT A worthy addition to the pantheon of books on inventors and inventions.

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