Monday, January 26, 2015

Children’s Book Review: Spic-and-Span! Lillian Gilbreth’s Wonder Kitchen by Monica Kulling

Spic-and-Span! Lillian Gilbreth's Wonder Kitchen from Tundra Books 

About the book:
Born into a life of privilege in 1878, Lillian Moller Gilbreth decided she did not want to live a pampered life, and went to university to pursue adventure and challenge.  Later, she and her husband, Frank, became efficiency experts by studying the actions of factory workers. When Frank suddenly died, Lillian was left to raise their eleven children alone. Eventually, she was hired by the Brooklyn Borough Gas Company to improve kitchen design, which was only the beginning.  Lillian Gilbreth was the first woman elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and the first female psychologist to have a U.S. postage stamp issued in her honor. A leading efficiency expert, she was also an industrial engineer, a psychologist, an author, a professor, and an inventor.

How I have never heard of this amazing woman is beyond me, because she was absolutely incredible! I know that I, personally, benefit daily from some of her discoveries and inventions!  She was the first to study ergonomics, is the reason kitchens are designed the way they are today and even invented such things as the foot-pedal operated garbage can!  Reading about Lillian and all that she accomplished as a widow with eleven children was truly remarkable, especially given the time that she was alive.

I read this book to my 3 year old son and while he sat and listened to the story, I do believe the target audience is quite a bit older. Having said that, I’m sure it was the detailed and beautiful illustrations (by David Parkins) that held my son’s interest so well.  I will definitely hang on to this gem and read it to him again when he’s older, or save for when he can read it himself.  I am now also very interested in picking up more of the Great Ideas Series as they are a great way to teach valuable history lessons in a beautiful, colourful and interesting way.

Would I recommend this book?  Absolutely!  Pick it up for your 6-10 year old. I believe this, and the others in the Great Ideas Series by Kulling, will spark interest in learning more about the remarkable people they tell the stories of.

Thank you, Tundra Books, for sending me a review copy and teaching me something new!