Reviews for Howtoons : The Possibilities Are Endless!


Booklist Reviews 2007 December #2
Using a graphic-novel format, Griffith, engineer and recent recipient of the MacArthur 'genius grant,' combines forces with Dragotta and Joost Bonsen in this mix of comical adventure story and how-to book for young inventors. The story of a brother and sister challenged to 'make something other than trouble' serves as a frame for lessons and suggestions on creating everything from marshmallow shooters to ice cream. Large, colorful pictures burst with energy and the thrill of invention as explanations and diagrams, laid out in sequential art form, make what might otherwise be intimidating seem accessible and engaging. Several of the activities (particularly the complicated soda-bottle rocket) will require adult help, but there are projects here for many ages and interests. Information on tools and basic skills appears throughout the book, which will serve readers and inventors well as they graduate to other such books. An interesting and amusing glossary rounds out the fun. Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2007 November #1
Two MIT grads (one a 2007 MacArthur fellow) and a veteran comics artist combine talents to present a fresh and funny set of different but doable projects and activities with mostly household materials. Depicted in brightly colored, hyper-energetic cartoon art and linked by a story arc that takes wisecracking preteen siblings Tuck and Celine from organizing a basement work area to constructing a challenging soda-bottle rocket powered by compressed air, the roster of projects also includes a freezer-bag ice-cream maker, safety goggles, a wonderfully promising mini-marshmallow shooter made from PVC pipe and at least a dozen more. Along with plenty of safety cautions, the authors slip in simple diagrams, plus all sorts of useful side information, such as galleries of kinds of saws and pliers, handy knots and a system of hand-counting that's "digital" in both senses. Earnest beneath the surface but totally free of dorkiness, this is perfectly tuned to inspire creativity as well as promote good work habits in budding inventors and mechanical engineers alike. (Graphic nonfiction. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2008 May

Gr 4-6 -In this craft book in graphic-novel format, siblings Celine and Tucker show, through dialogue balloons, how a little ingenuity can turn everyday household items and discarded material into fun, cutting-edge projects. The activities range from simple (making ice cream, safety goggles from plastic liter bottles, and a flute from a turkey baster) to complex endeavors that require extra patience for trial and error as well as some heavy-duty hardware. The introduction for the marshmallow shooter, for example, features different kinds of handsaws as Celine demonstrates the proper cutting technique. While the creators recommend adult supervision, especially for constructing a tree swing, Tucker and Celine are mostly shown on their own. Still, the comic-book art normally associated with action heroes captures the siblings' exuberant, innovative spirits and the format allows for more detailed instructions for project construction. Recommended for creative but mindful budding inventors/designers/engineers.-Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library

[Page 154]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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