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Book Reviews

Canada Invents

by Susan Hughes

Who would have thought that Canada has been home to so many inventors? Susan Hughes, writer of children’s information books, has filled this substantial volume with inventors of all ages, and inventions of all types – mostly serious, but a few silly ones as well. This gallery of inventions is divided into categories of use: Hughes describes inventions that help us move, play, communicate, eat well, and – highlighted in first position – cope with Canada’s cold. From the long-ago Inuit inventions of snow goggles and kayaks, to the many achievements of Alexander Graham Bell, and a surprising number of inventions by young people, the material in Canada Invents is informative and appealingly presented. Each machine, gadget, or creation is given between one-third and a whole page.

The book is generously illustrated, often with archival or modern photos of the inventors and sometimes drawings of the inventions themselves. For most readers it will be a book to dip into rather than one to read cover to cover, although the attractive format, varied page designs, and light, humorous tone make it easy to keep on reading. The language in some of the explanations is fairly technical, and in a few cases a simple diagram or illustration might have helped the reader understand more clearly what’s being described. There is a comprehensive two-page index. Canada Invents will be a welcome addition to the information book section of school and public libraries, and its historical as well as technological perspectives should extend its general appeal.