A world of discovery by James Brown and Richard Platt

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A world of discovery introduces young people to the basics of technology and invention.

A world of discovery by James Brown and Richard Platt. Candlewick Studio, 2019, 63 pages.

Reading level: Intermediate, 8-10 years

Recommended for: Ages 7-12

Every technology that we take for granted had to be “discovered” – usually out of necessity, followed by invention, but not always. The need for wheels seems obvious, but the reason why some cultures have never been able to make them is because they are very difficult to make (do you ever try to draw a perfectly round circle?). The technology to make the technology had to come first. Penicillin, on the other hand, had been in the form of bread mold for millennia before – almost by chance – a practical application in combating bacterial diseases was found. The simple act of fire was a revolutionary step forward, the main advantage (according to the theory of evolution) was to kill the bacteria in the meat so that people could eat it safely and live longer. (How they lived long enough to develop is another question.)

From timing to computer chips, from aviation to space exploration, from fire to nuclear fission, the “world of discovery” is pretty well covered here. Everyone gets a double page with a little history, a little science / technology and special sidebars. The oversized pages and layout make browsing easier. There aren't as many details as in David Macauley's books, but it could be a good place to start That's how things work for children who want to explore further.

Overall rating: 3.75 (of 5)

  • Artistic / literary value: 4.25
  • Weltanschauung / moral value: 3.5


  • There is an evolutionary tendency, but it is not too pushy.

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