The fascinating concepts behind the A Great Idea! Going Green series keep on coming. This time the role of the heroic inventor is played by David Cope, of the company Purfresh. As the first chapter explains, plants act much like humans when it comes to overexposure to sun: they brown and shrivel, destroying harvests, producing less-desirable food, and ruining entire orchards, farms, and businesses. Early sunscreens made of clay and wax had significant drawbacks, and that’s when Cope stepped up with the idea of using calcium carbonate, a naturally occurring material also present in antacids, chalk, and cement. Though the book’s layout is bland at times, sidebars on everything from global warming to the Dust Bowl spice things up, and the text is composed with utmost clarity. It’s an always interesting and often inspiring package summed up by Cope’s statement: We wanted to figure out ways to harness the power of nature to do something good.
Booklist, Feb 15, 2010
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
Wilson's Core Collection, 2009
This is a new addition to a series of books that teaches how an invention comes to be. Students learn about how science and technology can affect our world and how an invention can influence our society. The history of why this invention was needed and the continuing necessity of the invention are discussed. This unique perspective can support objectives in science, technology, and engineering for students in the middle grades. Sunscreen for Plants discusses the sun and how it affects plants. It explains photosynthesis in simple language and then details scientists' research into the problem of sun-damaged fruits, nuts, vegetables, and plants. New vocabulary is printed in bold and defined in the glossary. Children will enjoy the photographs and the “Did You Know?” boxes, which are full of interesting information. A section called "For More Information" includes websites to visit for more information. Classroom teachers will enjoy reading this book with upper elementary students, whereas middle school children will enjoy exploring the book on their own.
National Science Teacher’s Association, November 4, 2009