Fifty Clever Bastards: Book Review

Title: Fifty Clever Bastards
Author: Martin Fone
ISBN: 9781537047287

Classification: Non-Fiction
Themes: inventors, science

What's it about?
This is a collection of short biographies about 50 very clever people who are perhaps not as well known as others but whose inventions are important to our everyday life.

Repeating format. It has the name, dates of life, picture/photo and then bio. Simplistic and to the point.

Nothing comes to mind.

My Thoughts...

Use It
I was lucky enough to win a signed copy of this book on a GoodReads giveaway and I must admit it's a keeper. One thing I struggle with is finding non-fiction books that are accessible to students with low-literacy and also those with little patience. Most students just do not have the patience, time or inclination to read a 300 page biography of someone and so all too often they rely on that site that as teachers we dare not mention....but this book does help to fill that need.

What I like about this book is the repeating format. The simple way the information is presented means that it is predictable which really helps to focus students who would otherwise find reading about someone's life rather boring or overwhelming.

The other real plus about this book is that it sticks to the facts and what you want to know...we don't all want to know about an inventors second-cousin who married the forth-cousin of a playwright...that type of information is not necessary and one of the main things that annoys students. Here the information is presented chronologically and in a too the point way...I dare say in a rather Aussie way.  Despite being rather well read on the topic of inventors there were many in this book that I had not heard of which makes it a rather exciting book.

I would definitely use this one in the classroom because of how accessible it is in a non-babyish way, Each biography is only a couple of pages long which makes it a perfect book to use for guided reading activities (or focus activities for literacy depending on your teaching method). A whole term could be designed around the different people featured and if you chose to read about different inventors with different reading groups you could then have them share/present their information to the class.

Making a class timeline would also be of benefit as the students could see where they all fit in over time and would help to support the curriculum for personal timelines.

1 comment

  1. Frimleyblogger25 January 2017 at 04:31

    Hi, this is Martin Fone.
    Really glad you liked the book and thank you so much for the kind review. The idea was to give a quick character study of each of the inventors, rather than getting bogged down in too much irrelevant detail. I'm pleased to say it is selling well but any assistance in promoting is gratefully received! Perhaps as I Brit I have learned some Aussie ways!
    Best wishes