Written and Illustrated by Meghan McCarthy
Simon & Schuster Books of Young Readers; 2015, Hardcover
Target Audience: Ages 5-9
Theme: Creativity, Inventions
How We Discovered This Book: My daughter picked up this book from the new books bin at our library. Our librarians save the day yet again!
Summary: A young man in Maine in the late 1800s named Chester Greenwood wanted a better solution for warming his ears during the cold winter. He improved on the idea of basic ear covers and patented his idea when he was 19. His version is what we recognize as earmuffs today. The author adds into the story information about patents and some other famous inventions in order to help children understand what Chester really accomplished.
What I Liked: In general, I’m not a big fan of non-fiction books. However, I do have a big appreciation for non-fiction books that incorporate more traditional storytelling techniques to make the concepts more interesting. In this case, my kids finished the book with a basic understanding of patents and how valuable improvements can be in the invention process. (Does anyone really remember those people who first invented the light bulb? And no, it wasn’t Thomas Edison!)
What Did My Kids Think? My kids found it a whimsical story, especially how Chester’s hometown still celebrates him with a parade every year. Their father holds 7 patents in the medical device field, so this really hit home for them. They had a lot of follow up questions afterwards. After all, that’s what a non-fiction book should do, right?
Interested in more information on the creation of the book? Check out the author’s introduction and backstory here.
The US Patent and Trademark Office has a special website set up with games for kids, to help them understand the patent and trademark processes.
The Kids Discover website outlines a classroom project for kids to create something and then prepare to patent it.