Tuesday 5 June 2012

Book Review: Dotty Inventions and some real ones too

Dotty Inventions: And Some Real Ones Too Dotty Inventions: And Some Real Ones Too by Roger McGough, illustrated by Holly Swain (Walker Books)
PB RRP $ 16.95
ISBN 97881847803320
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis
If you want children to learn things, make learning fun. If you want them to remember what they’ve learnt, make it funnier. That’s what’s going on in this wonderful book full of fun and learning. The main characters are Professor Dotty Dabble and her robot Digby. Digby has a screen across his tummy on which he searches for the real truth about inventions, for Dotty loves to claim inventions belonging to others as hers. They travel in a Gizmobile that also has wings attached which open when they need to fly high.

Dotty is invited to enter a competition for the best invention at the National Science Museum. The prize is ‘the holiday of a lifetime’. But which invention should she submit? There is the chocolate cup in which you add hot water and drink before it melts; the voice-activated socks, the nasal floss and the thermal dentures. And there are more to choose from and Dotty is getting dizzy trying to decide.

The types of inventions that enter the competition are: pens that correct spelling as you write, umbrellas with a built in stereo, and edible school scarves, amongst others.

The marvellous real inventions that readers will learn about with Professor Dotty Dabble are: when and why windscreen wipers were invented, how the parachute came to be, and how and by whom was the Biro created. Then there is Velcro, the name originating from the two words, velour and crochet. But the story behind it is so amazing, funnier even than how the Frisbee came to be.

Dotty wins the competition for her claim to having invented Digby. But what are his real origins?

This vibrantly coloured book is entertaining with knowledge at centre stage to excite the reader’s mind. Roger McGough also has a wonderful book of poetry due out next month titled Lucky, created for children and young adult audiences. He was the illustrator of his highly successful, previous collection of poetry, An Imaginary Menagerie.

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