By: Ryan Jacobson
Publisher: Lerner Publications
Publication Date: August 2013
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: December 2013
Crooked teeth have been around for a long, long time. In fact the “people of ancient Greece tried out braces around 1000 B.C.” They weren’t horribly sophisticated, but rather were made out of metal bands, unlike the ones you may have had put on your teeth. You’ll read about the “ouch” factor in those Greek braces. Speaking of teeth, toothpaste has been around a lot longer than those braces. Some of the ingredients were rather yucky. Take for instance, “the Romans used a tooth-cleaning mixture with pee as an ingredient!” No thank you, Colgate will do just fine. Many of the medical inventions you use every day aren’t that gross.
Take for example the Band-Aid. Josephine Dickenson was quite accident prone. Minor accidents that is. Her husband Earle was always having to patch her up with “cotton and tape.” He thought to himself, “There has to be a better way.” And so there was. Earle invented the Band-Aid. They were a flop, but something he did made them very popular. You’ll find out what happened when you read this book. Most of the inventions in this book you’ve either used or at least heard about. You’ll also get a chance to explore the history of the X-ray, contact lens, pain medicine, syringe, laser surgery, thermometer, anesthesia, wheelchairs, and prosthetic limbs.
This is a fun, fascinating look at the history of a dozen medical inventions kids will marvel at. Almost all of the inventions discussed in this book have a lot of interesting history behind them. Far from modern, some of these inventions such as the syringe were used in the 1700s. Each invention is discussed on one page accompanied by photographs on the opposite one. The layout is simple and the history and text aimed toward the young, confident reader. Captions and sidebars add additional information to some of the historical vignettes. For example, one gives instructions that will help a young student build their own thermometer with assistance. In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore.
Quill says: Curious youngsters will love to check out these inventions and learn about their unusual histories!