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Crazy Contraptions

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About the Author

Laura Perdew is an author, writing consultant, and former middle school teacher. She has written more than 20 books for the education market on a wide range of subjects and is the author of Extinction What Happened to the Dinosaurs, Mastodons, and Dodo Birds? and Biodiversity: Explore the Diversity of Life on Earth with Science Activities for Kids. She is a long-time member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and an avid runner and hiker. Laura lives and plays in Boulder, Colorado. Micah Rauch is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator from the beautiful state of Montana. He received a BFA in graphic design from Montana State University in Bozeman Montana. He has loved the magical act of drawing his entire life and continues to learn and push his skills both as a designer and an illustrator.


School Library Journal
"Gr 4-6-Inspired by cartoonist (and trained engineer) Rube Goldberg, Perdew intersperses introductions to six simple machines from inclined planes to screws, explanations of Newton's laws of motion, and projects that use these principles and tools to show energy in motion and sequential actions. The projects, which include a device for knocking down a "one-armed Lego dude" to a working catapult (or "Treat Launcher"), are all constructed from easily available materials. Most include hints or challenges aimed at inspiring tinkerers to concoct alternative designs to accomplish the same results. Along with plentiful diagrams and color illustrations, nearly every spread features a vocabulary list. Many also include one or more Q-code links to relevant videos online. VERDICT?A delight for all budding engineers in elementary grades who, as Perdew puts it, 'like to think of complex ways to accomplish simple tasks.'"

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