Eureka!: Poems about inventors

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Genre: Genre of Choice (Poetry)

Title: Eureka!: Poems about inventors

Author: Joyce Sidman

Illustrator: K. Bennett Chavez

Bibliographic Information:

Sidman, Joyce. Eureka!: Poems about Inventors. Brookfield: Millbrook, 2002. Print.

Professional Recommendations:

Horn Book Guide Rating: 3

Best Children's Books of the Year, 2003 ; Bank Street College of Education; United States

Summary: This book is filled with clever poetry about many inventions and their inventors.  Some of them are as famous as Leonardo da Vinci or Johann Gutenberg with the printing press.  Others are of less famous creators such as Montgolfier brothers' hot air balloon or Walter Morrison's Frisbee.

Response: I liked how the author wrote about many different inventions.  Sidman gave names to the creators of the inventions many take for granted such as the bra, dishwasher, or the World Wide Web.

According to Horn Book (The Horn Book Guide, Spring 2003), "This collection will be useful in language arts, science, and social studies curricula."  The poems had many vocabulary words in them.  As a result, students could look up many of the new words.  Then they could write a science report using them.  Also using this book as a guide, the students could create science fair projects with these inventions.

The poems were full of facts, but the author added even more information after each poem.  Sidman provided a brief biography of the inventors and more background information on each invention.  For example, I learned that Marie Sklodowska Curie "died in 1934 of leukemia, brought on by radiation poisoning" because her discovery of radium.  Seventy six years later, "her notebooks are dangerously radioactive."

I loved the pictures in the book.  Chavez captured the inventors' personality, and the time of the inventions perfectly.  On a double page spread, the illustrator made a picture of several inventors and the readers are encouraged to guess who the inventors are and what they created.  Underneath is a listing of each person's name and their inventions.  They can use past knowledge to guess or use creativity to make good guesses.

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