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Mistakes That Worked

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  432 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
Piggy banks, silly putty, potato chips and frisbees are all things that were invented by mistake.

Includes a bibliography. An IRA-CBC Children's Choice.
Hardcover, 78 pages
Published September 1st 1991 by Doubleday Books for Young Readers
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Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kayt

Mistakes that Worked
By Charlotte Foltz Jones, Illustrator: John O’Brien
ISBN13: 9780399552021
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt


Do you know how many things in your daily life were invented by accident?

SANDWICHES came about when an English earl was too busy gambling to eat his meal and needed to keep one hand free. POTATO CHIPS were first cooked by a chef who was furious when a customer complained that his fried potatoes weren’t thin enough. Coca-Co
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: informational
A lot of the things that we use and take for granted today have crazy backstories that came from mistakes. Mistakes That Worked tells the history of different things we have today all because someone in history made a mistake and created something by accident. They describe everything from velcro to potato chips and have hilarious pictures to go along with it.

The best part of Mistakes That Worked are the illustrations. They are hilarious and help bring together the theme of the book, that somet
Amanda Herman
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a compilation if inventions and discoveries that took place by accident. Some examples include silly putty, popsicles, Coca-Cola, donut holes and cheese. There are also examples of places that were named mistakenly. It is also filled with fun facts, recipes, and anecdotes. This book is a great way to teach students that making mistakes can not only help you in the process of learning new things but also can lead to great contributions to society.
This is a great little book for a kid interested in science or history. It's divided up really nicely, and has little vignettes about everything from penicillin to rolled trouser cuffs. A good one to keep in mind for the young factoid enthusiast. It'll make them stretch a little bit beyond in terms of reading, but will provide a lot of little tidbits to keep them interested.
G P Devine
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun, quick read with some interesting facts.
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-my-library
Pictures, interesting facts, the story of how things were accidentally invented... what more could you want?
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting facts.
Somethings you might not know.
(JUV non-fiction)
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, nonfiction, tween
I think I read a different version of this book. The picture here looks like an, um, picture book. The one I read was more a middle school book. Anyway, mildly interesting.
This is a very good book to spark interest in younger elementary children. It is a good resource for elementary teachers or parents of elementary-age children.
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun! Children will enjoy this fact driven story about how everyday things were invented.
Mar 08, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-new
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, this is a kids' read, but a fun one for an adult, too. This little book has all kinds of interesting information in it like who invented donuts, or how chocolate chip cookies came to be. Other items include how aspirin was discovered complete with the warnings for use in young children. And how about these? Scotchgard, post it notes, or how Cinderella ended up wearing glass slippers?

The articles are short, maybe a couple of hundred words max, with vocabulary probably appropriate for 10 year
Lauren (Shooting Stars Mag) Becker
Mistakes that Worked: The World's Familiar Inventions and How They Came To Be by Charlotte Foltz Jones is a quick, interesting book. It's perfect for older elementary students, but I think older readers would enjoy this too as it gives you some fun background information about popular inventions. Who knew so many of the things we love and use today were invented because of a mistake? The book is also full of black and white illustrations by John O'Brien, which always makes a nonfiction book even ...more
Jeanne O'Hara
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Genre: Non Fiction

This non fiction book would appeal to both boys and girls. It is full of facts about forty unintended discoveries. Chapter One, Tummy Fillers, explains how chocolate chip cookies, cheese, tea, and coca-cola, among other edible delights, were accidentally discovered. Other chapter are: Doctor, Doctor; Fun, Fun, Fun; All Kinds of Accidental Things; Where in the World?; and What they Wear. Discoveries include: aspirin, seeing eye dogs, x-rays, piggy banks, Ivory soap, post-it note
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book fits the very definition of light, educational reading. All students hear the story of Thomas Edison and how he invented by trying things until he found what worked, his most famous quote is, “We have not failed, we have discovered 10,000 ways how not to make a lightbulb.” Yet, so many inventions are the consequence of the simultaneous presence of an accident and an open, intelligent mind. This book contains forty brief stories of how things went wrong before they became very right.
Bernardo Gameiro
When an angry chef makes really thin fries, he ends up discovering something amazing. Mistakes That Worked, is a book written by Charlotte Foltz Jones.
The book calls attention by telling how daily used things were created accidentally, like cheese, X-rays, piggy banks, Coca Cola, frisbee, and many more. It also draws reader's attention by telling the reader every little fact, like who created, when it was created, how it was created, and even how it affects the world today.
The book is interestin
As much as I loathed non-fiction works as a child, this was one book that I read over and over and over again. Why? It was quirky and fun and had some really odd things in it!

Ever wonder where chocolate chip cookies came from? Or why we use waffles as ice cream cones? Those were my two favorites to learn about, and I fear the only two examples that still come to mind.

From what I recall, the book had over 30 different 'mistakes that worked' neatly categorized, with amusing illustrations and writ
Anna Hernandez
This book is about inventors that made mistakes. Those mistakes became things we use every day. The book mentions things like Velcro, popsicles, and chips. These are all things that students are familiar with and they will be entertained as well as informed.
This books contains many funny stories and cartoons. It was informative, but not boring. I liked how easy it was to read while still being full of useful information.
I would use this book in a Science lesson about different inventors. I woul
Sarah Ritchick
Standard: Grade 3. RI. 3.3. Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Description: Popsicles, potato chips, Silly Putty, Velcro, and many other familiar things have fascinating stories behind them. In fact, dozens of products and everyday
Rosa Cline
This book could actually be either an adult book or a child's book. It's very interesting with small (one page or less) stories of how various things were invented...from various foods, to toys, to medication, to even the names of towns in the US. Very interesting and simple stories to read and go 'Wow I didn't know that"... this book would be a good 'starter' book for a child for a Science project or for a starter idea to write about an essay for a school project. Lots of references to various ...more
Ms. Yingling
Ah. Finding out that original publication date of this was 1994 made so much sense. This read like a much older book-- nonfiction styles have changed a lot. This was okay, but the interior black and white illustrations as well as the long narrative style don't make this overly appealing.

In a larger size, with some photographs, sidebars and some color, this would not be bad. Even though I had read about all of the various mistakes, students have not.

Also, Post It notes weren't invented until 19
Nov 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
The 8yo started and finished this today because "this book is amazing Mom!" He was surprised how many mistakes involved science. Loved learning that chocolate chip cookies were a mistake too. He's planning to draw illustrations similar to the ones in the book because "they're really funny but tell you a little about the story at the same time." A book that caused this much enthusiasm in an 8yo who normally doesn't stray from graphic novels? Definitely amazing.
Aaron Beaulieu
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book and gave it 5/5 because it was pretty easy and quick to read. I can't stand books with stories that aren't real, I like to learn real information. This was great because I never would've known something was actually accidently created. I would recommend this book, it's fairly easy and quick, about 75 pages and you learn something. So someone read this book.
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, short-stories
A fun and quick read with an earthy and necessary message. For those who like to experiment, but may be afraid of failure, this book points out in a humorous and intelligent way that not all mistakes are bad, and an experiment that doesn't work isn't necessarily a failure. A great read, despite the creepiness of the illustrations.
John Nichols
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Mistakes that Worked" is a reminder that failure is not always the end. The work is geared toward tween and early teen readers, but I thoroughly enjoyed browsing through to see how some of the things we eat and use were originally created.

Parents this is an excellent resource for encouraging little Miss or Mister "I can't" to keep trying.
Sandra Strange
Another delightful and easy nonfiction book aimed at upper elementary/ middle school readers that is particularly appropriate for reluctant or challenged high school readers, this one gives short accounts (with quirky illustrations) of "accidental" inventions and discoveries such as PostIt notes, penicillin, and the "leaning" Tower of Pisa.
Susannah Goldstein
A great idea for a book, but the execution could be stronger. I love the idea of a mistakes book, and I especially like the format, which lends itself to kids dipping in and out of the book when the mood strikes. However, the entries are not all equally strong, and some of the stories are a bit dated, and students will notice that.
Nov 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: social-studies
A book about different inventions and the stories behind it. This book can be used to read during the unit of inventions and how inventors changed the world. Inventors took many tries to come up with the final product so this is a wonderful book to read small stories from that can relate to real life situations about inventors.
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: family
Both interesting and engaging enough to command an audience of three several nights in a row at our house. Written in a manner simple enough to make complex ideas like pennicilin understandable for our 9 yr old and yet it never bogs down with technical explanations.
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“Intelligence is not to make no mistakes. But quickly to see how to make them good.” 0 likes
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