Sunday, May 28, 2017

50 Wacky Inventions Throughout History, by Joe Rhatigan

I have to admit, some of the inventions in Joe Rhatigan's 50 Wacky Inventions Throughout History are pretty wacky.  As the title suggests, Rhatigan describes "weird inventions that seem too crazy to be real," accompanied by cartoonish illustrations by Celeste Aires.  I don't believe any of the inventions here will inspire you to pull out your credit card.  But some of them are just likely enough to make you think it could work. . . .

A drone you can actually ride on?  Not bad.  An alarm clock that shakes your bed until you get up, or one that rolls all over the room before you chase it down and turn it off?  Heaven knows there are some mornings when drastic measures are called for!  A power converter to power the TV from a stationary bike?  My kids wouldn't have a weight problem in we had one of those at my house.

Some of these make you wonder, What was that inventor thinking?  A nose-mounted stylus for your iPad?  No, thank you.  An alarm to notify parents of their child's dirty diaper?  Seems unnecessary.  A hat on which you can mount toilet paper for those days when you have a runny nose?  Too odd to be useful.  A powered pogo stick, bouncy boots, or a body-mounted bicycle?  Have someone nearby with the engine running, ready to take you to the emergency room.

I wish 50 Wacky Inventions would have drawn more distinctions between things that were never made, things that were made but never really sold, and things that actually went on the market.  Also, as entertaining and colorful as Aires's illustrations are, it would have been interesting to include a few photographs of the actual inventions (the ones that were made anyway.)  All that said, this is a fun book, sure to get some laughs as you look at the things people come up with.  Maybe, just maybe, it will inspire young readers to come up with inventions of their own, wacky or not!

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

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