Monday 17 September 2018

Little Heroes: Inventors who changed the world

Little Heroes: Inventors who changed the world by Heidi Poelman, illustrated by Kyle Kershner (Familius LLC) HB RRP $9.99 ISBN 9781641700351

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

This board book looks at eight inventors including two women, Marie Curie and Grace Murray Hopper. With two sentences each double-spread page, the reader learns those who created inventions which revolutionised society. Cai Lun, for instance, mixed ‘pieces of bark, old rags and fishing nets’ with water to produce the world’s first piece of paper. Grace Murray Hopper programmed a room-sized computer to respond to human voices, not just number codes.

In introducing each of the inventors, the author uses the word ‘little’ before the name, so ‘Little Louis’ found germs through the lens of his microscope. This surely gives the impression that each of the people targeted made their discoveries when they were young. A misconception, of course. 

Naturally it’s a good thing that small children learn that Thomas Edison found a way of lighting up light bulbs, that Leonardo Da Vinci drew plans for machines that eventually became real and that Johannes Gutenberg created the first printing press and so on. But one must question why these facts are presented in a book for pre-readers, that is, a board book.

Also, the reading level of this book is that of a 7 to 8-year-old. Even if someone read to a small child, it would probably be incomprehensible to someone so young.
Having said that, it must be pointed out that the book is colourfully illustrated and it’s good that children can learn, probably for the first time, about people who made our world more accessible.

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