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Inventions from Rocks to Rockets Timeline Review by Courtney Larson

33 rue du Petit Musc
75004 Paris-France
+33 1 53 01 24 00
Play Bac Publishing USA
225 Varick Street
New York, NY 10014

Inventions from Rocks to Rockets is a fold out, full-color timeline that places inventions in the context of history. When it is folded, it is about 6 " by 11 inches. When opened to its full length, it is a bit over 5 feet long, and since it is printed on sturdy laminate cardstock, it is very durable.

The front of Inventions from Rocks to Rockets is a linear timeline. It begins at 1,000,000 BC and goes through 2020 AD (though the last invention placed on the timeline is a robot in 1997). It doesn't describe the origin of the earth, but it dates stone tools at 2.5 million years ago, controlling fire at 1 million years ago, and a few more entries at tens of thousands of years ago. The headings on the timeline are "Stone Age," "Early Civilizations," "Early Empires," "New Worlds," "Inventing a Better Life," and "Today and Tomorrow." This is a very picture-rich timeline, and each entry has a short paragraph that gives a few details about the invention. The timeline covers major life-changing inventions, like the clock, electricity, and penicillin, along with some fun inventions, like chocolate, movies, and video games.

The back of the timeline describes inventions in relation to a topic. The dates are listed, but they are not placed on a linear timeline. The sections are broken down into "Impact: How Life Changed" (inventions that changed warfare, home life, and the history of things kids like) and "Oops! Lucky Mistakes" (inventions that were created by accident). There is a map that describes the general inventions of each continent. A section titled "Toolbox" gives a bit of information on how to become an inventor, and a section called "Visionaries!" gives a short biography of Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, George Washington Carver, and Steve Jobs.

This timeline is interesting. It's very colorful and has a lot of pictures to grab the student's attention. My biggest complaint is the old-earth dating, but I don't find it difficult to explain this differing view to my children. Because there is printing on both front and back, this timeline can't easily be hung on a wall. However, I think it's a wonderful item to leave out for children to pick up and study on their own. I found my boys looking at it quite often when they came across it. Even though it is recommended for 5th grade and up, all of my sons (ages 10, 9, 7, 5, and 3) enjoyed studying Inventions from Rocks to Rockets. For less than $7, it offers a lot of information to pique your child's curiosity about inventions and inventors. I highly recommend it.

Product review by Courtney Larson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2009