What We Are Reading Right Now: #15 The Inventions Edition…

It has been a while since a “What We Are Reading Post…” but trust me we have as usual been immersed in piles of books!!! From time to time we join Playing By the Book in their Monthly Series of Themed Book Reviews and when I told my kids that the theme this month was inventions and inventors a towering pile of books arrived on my desk – all of them absolutely vital to this post. There has been a week of thinning the pile down to about twenty five books… who knew this would be such a popular theme!!!


We started by choosing this group of books as reference books because – well everyone should have a set of books of the latest and greatest gadgets clearly referencing all sorts of details. This group of Dorling Kindersley books are packed with facts and gadgets. They are packed with robots, computers, chips and fibers, space shuttles and appliances… if there is technology then these books have them!!! If you do take these books from the library then be prepared to renew them often… they are the kind of books that you need to dip into again and again and again.

And then there is this book, which is part of the Brainwaves Series… the Brainwaves are little folk who are scattered through out the book sharing factoids and information about a multitude of the greatest inventions. The books in this series are fun and packed with facts – huge fold out pages with even more little snippets to discover… microscopes to movies, lightbulbs and even flops!!!

And here are the Hoods favourite books on inventions and inventors…


Hood #1: Because The Way Things Work is a classic and who can resist a classic… discovering how things work from a collection of very amusing mammoths… Everything from simple machines to intricate devices. There is a balance between art and technology here and this book appeals to the artist in my kids. I tell you the truth – pages and pages of mammoths have been drawn in our home and collected for for future generations to admire because of this book!!!


Hood #2: Well for our techno-geek, spy in training – you just can not beat Anthony Horowitz and his Alex Rider Series… and the Gadget book is really a book full of technical drawings, blue-prints in fact, describing and explaining the devices used by Alex Rider in his suspense filled spy-adventures.


Hood #3: This is one of our school science books in grade 4… well my kids love this book and go back to it again and again and again… This book explains the history and discovery of literally dozens of inventions. It is packed with snippets to read and illustrations to amuse… Also because it is an Usborne book there are literally dozens of links to explore on their fabulous Quicklink page. Their Quicklinks are brilliant, Usborne books have taken the leg work out of finding interesting online resources for kids and they present them in a useful way on their website.


Hood #4: This book is an incredible read… not just another list of inventions and how they were made… this is a book with the back story behind many incredible and innovative inventions: a windmill made from plastic lids and old flip flops in Malawi; a student who makes refrigerators from scrap metal in Namibia… Inventions that just never quite made it. And there is even a chapter on biomimicry. Inventions that you might need for a trip to Mars, or anywhere in outer space, really. The book is filled with blue-print type drawings, dozens of photographs and of course Wallace and Gromit to lead you through it all.


Hood #5: We have reviewed this book before, it is a pop up book with a difference. Firstly and most importantly it isn’t flimsy – there are few things worse than a flimsy pop-up book. And it is packed with snippets and facts hidden here there and everywhere. If you are looking to discover the ins and outs of the fabulous invention of the loo roll, then just unravel it!!!


Hood #6:

This is a book that deals with an invention chapter by chapter… and how they are made. The book deals with how the objects are made… guitars, ballet shoes and even the good old pencil. A really good read and a book that is interesting and engaging to read to your kids – more than once… because you are going to be reading this one a few more times than once!!!


Hood #7: Minton is a family favourite and part of a series of adventures that this lizard and his sidekick friend the turtle go on. Now Minton is a bit of a risk taker and loves to try new things… Turtle however is the not-so-quiet-voice-of-reason. They always find themselves in a bit of a pickle and have to rescue themselves, which they do by inventing some sort of vehicle from things that you will find in your recycling box. Here’s a link to one of them, How Minton creates a boat. They are fun and totally do-able projects for little people and all my kids have grown up loving them. These books are really hard to find – if you spot them, grab them!!!

And the se7en + 1th Books:


Hood #8: Who can resist the Big Ball of String… and the boy that can invent anything with his big ball of string… Surely every child that has read this book has spent years collecting all sorts of strings and string-like things because of it!!! This is really a book that has fired up imaginations for the longest time and no amount of new fangled play-things will ever take away the joy of a fine piece of string!!!

That’s us… if you are looking for more books all about inventions then head over to Playing by the Book to see what other readers have recommended.

6 Replies to “What We Are Reading Right Now: #15 The Inventions Edition…”

  1. What a great collection of books. I love the idea of the last book (new to me) – string!! The story of inventions, and the Brainwaves book (which we have in Afrikaans!) are popular here. The kids love reading the Afrikaans and working out what is being said based on their Dutch 🙂

  2. Oh Zoe, That is funny!!! We could send them heaps of Afrikaans books!!! The Big Ball of String was one of my very favourite books as a child and my kids now have it as a reading book for school. The first half of the story: The lead lad gathers his big ball of string – anywhere and everywhere!!! And then is sent to bed with a cold… the second half of the book he constructs these amazing gadgets and pulleys and things so that he can do anything from his bed – anything at all with his big ball of string!!! A brilliant read – look for it, you will love it!!! Thanks for stopping by and the great link up – hope you have a fabulous week!!!

  3. Wonderful! I teach first grade and our last reading unit is all about great ideas and inventions! I saw some favorites and some books I have to try in your post! Thank you. My first grade always loves to be read “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick when we do this unit. Have a great day!

  4. Hi Jaime, Thank you for the tip… this is one post where we definitely needed more space!!! So many fabulous books, we didn’t even get onto novels!!! We will have to look out for your book, hope you have a great weekend!!!

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