Each of these titles highlights a specific, and often obscure, invention from the past decade that is making, or has the potential to make, a real difference in the world. With a mix of scientific terminology and accessible sentence structure, the books effectively describe how the ideas took shape and were put into practice by the scientists involved. Students are generally intrigued by robots and will find Nexi Robot of particular interest, though the author is careful to explain the limitations of what this robot currently can and cannot do. Seed Vault explains the need to preserve endangered plant species and how they are collected and protected. Sunscreen for Plants shows how early attempts at protecting crops from overexposure to the sun were either ineffective or somehow harmful to the plant, and how a few individuals worked together to devise a product that was both effective and ecologically sound. Bionic Hand is a fascinating look at how biology and technology are being used to create more useful prostheses for those who have lost a limb. In all of the books, color photographs are included on every page and provide a visual complement to the texts. Small “Did You Know?” boxes appear on nearly every spread and offer up short, interesting facts. Current, relevant Web sites are appended. Librarians looking to beef up science or inventions collections may find these solid additions.
School Library Journal March 2010
A Great Idea series review:
"TOP 10 NONFICTION SERIES FOR YOUTH 2009"
– Booklist, April 1, 2009
All four topics are of the moment and at least one subject is completely new: a SCRATCHbot is a robot rat that uses whiskers to feel its way around. It is used to help researchers study animals. Similarly formatted, the titles offer a wealth of interesting information, including the history and usefulness of each topic. A first look at the large type makes the books seem to be geared for a younger audience than they actually are. While this might be a slight deterrent to potential audiences, these series offerings are well worth consideration. The lively texts are complemented by myriad “Did You Know?” boxes and different colored pages of side information. Each book is peppered with clear, current photographs, useful websites, and complete indexes. Students do not need prior knowledge to appreciate these worthy titles.
---SLJ January, 2011