Canadian Children's Book Centre's Reviews > The Chinese Thought of It: Amazing Inventions and Innovations

The Chinese Thought of It by Ting-xing Ye
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Feb 07, 12

bookshelves: chinese-canadian-books

Reviewed by Mary Ann Cree

Here is the latest in the We Thought of It series. The series, which includes The Inuit Thought of It and A Native American Thought of It, takes an interesting and informative approach to technology and innovation. Each book is written by a native of that culture. With this new title, we travel around the world to China where the noted Chinese Canadian author, Ting-xing Ye, grew up. In her introduction, she tells us of her first hand experience with some of the ancient Chinese inventions that she researched for the book.

We begin with a useful timeline and a simple map. The book is divided into mostly double-page spreads, each one covering different topics such as farming, working with metal, weapons, transportation and medicine. Rice planting in rows, metal ploughshares, gunpowder and acupuncture are just a few of the innovations that emerged from this ancient culture. Paper and printing is given a lengthy treatment as it is, of course, one of the most significant inventions of China. There is also an extensive section on silk. In the section “Everyday Innovations” we learn that the Chinese probably invented the umbrella in the first century CE and the toothbrush in the late 1400s!

As in the other two books, each invention is described in its own text box. Pictures overlap each other and the text – there is a lot of information, but it doesn’t feel cluttered. While the Inuit book has blue and grey pages, and the Native American has brown and green pages, the pages here are bright red, gold and yellow. It’s a nice design feature that distinguishes the different environment and culture of each place. This useful series combines history, science and culture in a unique way that is easy for students to understand.

Canadian Children's Book News (Winter 2010, Vol. 33, No. 1)
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