Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Doing & Learning
The Klutz Book of Inventions

The Klutz Book of Inventions

Fall 2010 Doing & Learning
Ages: 8 & Up
Author: Brendan Boyle
Author: John Cassidy
ISBN: 9781591748793
Hardcover Price: $19.99

Great things often come in unexpected places. In this case, the Klutz Books of Inventions, though wacky and ridiculous, is remarkably thought-provoking. It will spark the intellect of readers of all ages. The book's introduction is all about thinking like an inventor-how to come up with nutty and wild ideas that just might work, how not to take yourself too seriously, how to be willing to fail in order to succeed. They're all good lessons for would-be inventors and any kids just trying to expand their brainpower.

The book contains 200 pages of new, weird, highly imaginative and maybe even useful inventions that Klutz itself brags are "Brilliant! Genius! And Deeply Dumb!" The inventions emerged out of hundreds of hours of zany brainstorming by teams of visionaries from Klutz, publisher of incredibly fun activity books for kids, and IDEO, one of the world's foremost product-design firms. None can be purchased in stores, and once you see photographs of them, you'll understand why.

Klutz makes sure to warn readers and would-be inventors that most of the 162 inventions pictured and described in the book's pages are "for entertainment purposes only" and not to be replicated at home. Some of our favorite Klutz inventions? Well, the Vent Pants with built-in air vents for folks suffering from digestive problems was a keeper, and it paired well with the Soundproof Underwear. The Double-Barreled Peanut Butter Jar with a twist-off lid on both ends to resolve the bottom-of-the-jar issue made sense, as did the SqueezyBrush that marries a toothbrush with a toothpaste tube handle. Same for the Prescription Windshield for cars and the Heliumbrella, a hands-off umbrella kept afloat overhead with helium and strapped to the user's arms.

This special book is a keeper that will have the entire family laughing and wondering about what could be.

Don Oldenburg   ©2010 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

Look for this product at:
Scholastic Inc./ Hardcovers 3

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