Inventions That Could Have Changed the World... but Didn’t!

Joe Rhatigan, illus. by Anthony Owsley. Charlesbridge/Imagine!, $14.95 (80p) ISBN 978-1-62354-024-1
For every successful invention, there are a lot of near-misses, dozens of which Rhatigan collects in this entertaining sidewise view of history, which includes b&w illustrations from actual patent applications as well as color cartoons from Owsley. Inventions that didn’t get off the ground include a parachute coat (the inventor died testing its effectiveness), a bed that ejects its sleeper to wake him or her, a “Portable Baby Cage” that hangs from the outside of a window, and a rocking bathtub (“no matter what the advertisements said, water got everywhere”). Despite cataloguing a great many failures, Rhatigan challenges readers to try their hands at inventing; as Thomas Edison puts it, in one of several featured quotations, “Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.” Ages 8–12. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/15/2014
Release date: 02/10/2015
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