When housewares come to life. Oohh!
No where is human ingenuity more prominently on display than around the house.
Check out the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room and garage, and find a multitude of devices, inventions and products that men or women created to make life easier or more fun.
Robert Crowther investigates hundreds of these in only 12 pages - but pages crammed with three-dimensional images - in Pop-up House of Inventions: Hundreds of Fabulous Facts about Your Home (Candlewick, $17.99, age 7 and older).
A kitchen unfolds to show a refrigerator, table, microwave, toaster, stove, washing machine and cupboards, all with doors that open or flaps to pull. Open the oven door, and learn that the first electric stove was sold in 1891. Open a cupboard and you'll find out that before the first can opener (1870), folks opened cans with a hammer and chisel. Even the floor delivers information: Lift part of a tile, and discover that linoleum was invented in 1860 as an inexpensive alternative to carpeting.
Crowther's pop-up engineering is truly inventive. The five rooms have at least a dozen interactive components each. In the bathroom, pull back the shower curtain to reveal the tub with information about the origin of sponges, plaster, pipes and tubs. A boy (discreetly covered) is showering.
Shades pull down in the bedroom, a grill cover flips up in the garage, and in the kitchen, the oven reveals a baking tray with cookies.
Each illustration is accompanied by a factoid that gives the history of the item, reinforcing how many objects it takes and how they work together to make modern life fast, convenient and comfortable.