Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers...the site that's not afraid to mix reading and learning; in fact, we ENJOY it and think you will too!
No, seriously...if you haven't tried any of the many edutainment options out there for yourself or the little ones in your life, you are sorely missing out. They combine a wonderful learning experience with great stories and usually illustrations of the same high quality...such as the book we are reviewing today...to create an experience you won't soon forget. Take today's title for example.
It's a Children's non-fiction choice via Tundra Books from an author I've come to know and appreciate through her various works (and online wit!). If you're a frequent visitor to the site, you may recognize the name going in...if not, be prepared to be dazzled, and walk away with a bit of knowledge you did not formerly hold. Readers and readettes, today's book of choice is...
Great Idea Series: Making Contact!
Written by Monica Kulling
Illustrated by Richard Rudnicki
This is the story of how wireless communication came to be. It all started with one man's random thought of how can I make this better and I wonder if. Once the idea was formed, nothing could stop him from reaching his goal and laying the groundwork for all that we take for granted today. His name is Guglielmo Marconi.
Don't worry if you've never heard of him before, neither had I until I was introduced to this nifty book, but believe me, you are well acquainted with the long distance fruits of his labors. I mean you can hardly walk down the street, shop in a mall, go out to eat, even go to a movie theater without seeing SOMEONE on their smart phone, PDA, laptop or other wireless device. Even at home when cell time is over, there are still cordless phones to contend with. All of these devices had their start, their initial skeleton laid out for them from Marconi's great idea.
Once upon a time, he was a boy enjoying life in Bologna, Italy. A reader from the start, he was fascinated with the likes of Benjamin Franklin and his infamous kite flying expedition, as well as the wonders of Morse code. After getting use of the telegraph machine under his belt, he moved on to even bigger ideas, ones that would in fact change how we communicate with and around the world. It took time, it took dedication, it took heart...but it also took gumption and the ability to not only DREAM THE DREAM but FOLLOW IT THROUGH. He didn't let his missed attempts along the way persuade him to put his ambitions aside. Instead, he took the knowledge gleaned from those experiences and pressed on, knowing that one day, his dream would be realized.
Along with learning about this great mind, we gain exposure to the places his life took him along the way through the artwork. While there are some aspects of it I'm not as in favor of, I have to say that the broader strokes, the more general scenery or aspects of a room are what really captured my attention, especially the Italian countryside. I love the scene depicted early on showing a courtyard of sorts with a statue and low lying stone wall. The array of colors reflected in the work is beautiful, the texture it provides to the scene...inspired. It rounds out the experience and gives readers another aspect of the book to appreciate.
Now, I know this story is about the "king of wireless communication" and the marvels his one great idea brought to us all, but I have to also comment on the less modern entertainment making an appearance in the story. As much as I love my visual entertainment options from DVDs to BluRays, movie theaters to civic center stages, and although I'm not truly a fan of audio books (no throwing things! To each their own!), I have to say that I rather loved how the author described "when Radio was queen". So though not the exact vocal point of the story, I'm veering off for a few moments.
Imagine the experience with fresh eyes, not ones that have watched enough 3D in HD on the plasma tv in your den to create a few more acronyms. Imagination was KING when radio was Queen and the vivacity of what could be conceived was up to the listener. When spoken word met with the possibility of what if, it had to be something to see, to experience. Nowadays everyone is so exposed to the extremes of everything pretty much from birth, the simple joys that can be found in your family room (do some of you even KNOW where that is?) at your mother's/father's knee, gathered around the radio, a board game, a reader even (as in a person, not a device) are gone with the wind....BUT, they don't have to be.
Recommended read for all ages for the sheer edutainment of it all. Little ones will enjoy the colorful pages as the story progresses while those on the path to adulthood (and beyond) will have a new appreciation for another great name from our past whose contributions are often used but seldom received recognition. Just think about it. The next time someone marvels at their wireless communication device...you can say, did you know that it all started with Guglielmo Marconi?
Review copy received courtesy of author Monica Kulling. (THANKS!) For more information on this title as well as her other works within the Great Idea Series and beyond, be sure to visit her officialsite or friend her on Facebook. This title is available now from Tundra Books so be on the look out for it on a bookstore shelf near you.
Until next time...happy reading!