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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Potato chips and lawnmowers, air conditioners and radiators, television remotes and tricycles and so much more. These are items in our daily twenty-first century life that we take for granted. But someone actually invented them. Has anyone heard of Frederick McKinley Jones? He invented air conditioning and refrigerators. How about Garrett Morgan? He invented traffic signals and gas masks. And then there’s John A. Burr who invented the lawnmower. And Elijah J. McCoy who invented automatic lubricators for trains. In fact, interestingly enough, the phrase so commonly used, “the real McCoy,” comes from this man’s name. These inventors, and many more, were fine, outstanding American citizens. And, these inventors were black.
Christopher Davis Jr’s picture book story, The Man Who Invented the Lawn Mower: And Other Inspirational Black-American Inventors and Their Inventions, is a marvellous selection of fascinating Black-American inventors and their inventions, which are common, everyday items we use daily and take for granted. The story is told in rhyming verse and the text is presented in bold colors to attract the attention of young readers. The colorful illustrations by Sri Sayekti are very eye-catching and certainly add to the enjoyment of sharing this book with a young reader. This is a powerful, educational book for young readers, pointing out that some of our most ingenious inventions came from dedicated and creative black Americans. I hope that a book like this will encourage young readers to ask more questions like “Who invented this?” We need to empower young minds to both understand and appreciate all that we have around us to make our lives easier. A wonderful contribution to a young person’s library.