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Crafty Inventions: Weapons of War

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Genre: Junior Books / Edition: illustrated edition / Hardcover / 48 Pages / Book is published 2005-05-01 by Mercury Books London

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      04.03.2012 15:58
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      Brilliant book if you don't mind guns and war games for children.

      That should get this review a few hits from Google! This book does give instructions for an atom bomb, a rocket launcher, a grenade and many more weapons of war - but of course you will be making models - no real explosions. This book is like an 'Art Attack' for the militaristic child. But there is a lot more to to this book as well. In addition to a number of craft projects, this is actually a highly informative and well written book on the history of warfare.

      The book begins with a poor little chap named Bled. Appropriate name, it seems his people do a lot of bleeding. Bled's tribe is small and just wants to get on with life, raising crops and hunting, but someone bigger and meaner always comes along and takes everything. Talk about some serious bullying issues, but this well before you take all this to the European Court of Human Rights. But Bled gets a great idea - Iron swords. Better weapons give his people an advantage - but we don't get to see if they decide to use the weapons only for defense and live in peace, or go and slaughter all of their past tormentors. The early arms race is on. The next few pages teach us all about metal, different types of swords and gives instructions to make a toy Persian scimitar.

      Fast forward in time and we meet Edwin a yeoman archer. He's usually off fighting those pesky Scots and Welsh, and his bow is handy, but in order to get close enough to shoot them - he has to get close enough to be shot as well - what does he need ? A longer bow, will give him range and the power to pierce armour - the long bow is born. This section will tell us all about bows and arrows and even shows how to make a toy set. I only had one problem with this section. I think it would have been better if old Edwin was named Dafydd instead. I am not an expert on this, but the longbows used by the English and the best archers around at the time - the Welsh, were referred to as Welsh longbows. I've got an inclination it may have been the Welsh who got the idea - although longbows have been around since paleolithic times, with the first known example coming from Hamburg.

      The rest of the book continues in the same manner. We meet a hapless warrior of some sort, who is looking for an advantage on the battlefield, and then we are introduced to a new weapon of war. There are sections on armour, early muskets and rifles, machine guns, grenades, tanks, torpedoes, missile launchers and even atomic bombs. Each section has a craft project to make, with simple instructions and well illustrated steps to follow. There are also good colour photos of the real things , as well as the cartoon warriors.

      What makes the book, in my opinion, is the detailed, scientific explanation of how everything works. This book explains how a gun fires, how rifling works, the gyro effect, radar, ballistics , even how the atom is split in a clear and concise manner that even a very young child can understand. My son really loves this as he is always wanting to know how everything works. This book really satisfies a child's curiosity. At first glance, I thought this book would be a fun set of crafts to make with a bit of trivia, but there is really an incredible amount of science in this book. This book ends up covering three subjects and covering all three of them very well. It covers science, history and art.

      Although I value the science section of this book the highest, it was bought for the art projects, and these are brilliant as well. Of course those of you familiar with art attack will know that the finished product your children make never ends up looking quite the same as the picture in the book. If you are expecting perfection, you will almost certainly be disappointed. Most of the projects are easy to make and the materials are basic household or crafts items, such as paint and pvc glue. There are a few more complicated models, which my sons have been at my husband to make forever. One is the rocket launcher, which requires a 30 cm piece of wood. The other is the machine gun which is meant to have a foam cog. This looks like it would break very easily and we are looking for an old metal one, or will perhaps make one of wood. The projects we have made, such as the atom bomb, sword and hand grenade have been fun and easy to make. The bow and arrow are easy enough, but not too sturdy and did not last long. That said, I wasn't really expecting toys that would last for ages from this. As far as crafts projects, I would rate this as equal to "Art Attack", and I consider that very high praise.

      As a some educator this book is splendid for making learning fun and learning a variety of topics at once. It is perfect for schools looking for ways to incorporate cross curricular learning. But the best thing about the book is, it is just plain fun. Both of my sons love this book, all though of course the three year old does not understand everything. But boys do like to make toys guns and rockets, and this really makes art fun for my oldest - who is not as interested in arts and crafts as most children. I would recommend this book very highly for teachers and home educators, but I would also recommend it for any little boy who loves guns and swords, and other weaponry. I think this book could be adapted for use from ages 3 - 13.

      I would note that while colour photos of many weapons are shown - the results of their use is not depicted. There are no photos of the aftermath of a nuclear explosion, or battlefields and wounded. I prefer this as my children are quite young. I can see that this book might upset some more pacifist parents though, as it presents warfare in a fairly light hearted matter. Obviously this book is not an appropriate gift for a child whose parents do not approve of playing with guns, and in a classroom with younger children this could be an issue.

      This book will currently cost you £2.99 for a new copy from Amazon Marketplace, including postage. There are several other books in this series, mostly covering inventions, but one is about medicine, so if warfare is not to your tastes, you may still want to look at the rest of the series. I do hope to buy more of these in the future. This book is hardcover, with 48 thick glossy pages.

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