Once Upon a Big Idea: The Story of Inventions

Once Upon a Big Idea: The Story of Inventions

By Author / Illustrator

James Carter, Margaux Carpentier



Age range(s)



Little Tiger Press




Paperback / softback




Telescopes and clocks and trains - all big ideas from human brains!

From bridges and boats to medicines and mobile phones, this book takes readers on a journey of discovery through all the amazing inventions human beings have come up with. Learn how rocks and stones helped create the pyramids and how modern materials such as concrete and nylon have changed our lives.

Lively rhyming text by James Carter and electrifying illustrations by Margaux Carpentier.  

Find out more about this story of invention in our Q&A with author James Carter



Once Upon a Big Idea: The Story of Inventions is a bold and beautiful book! The reader is taken on a journey through time and inventions are introduced, from the pyramids and plastic, to wool and the wheel. More modern inventions are highlighted including medicine and mobile phones.  The book takes an environmental turn towards the end and shows the importance of recycling.

The text is lively, and cleverly rhymes, giving the book a bouncy, vibrant vibe. The illustrations are bright, simple yet detailed with bold shapes and intriguing angles.

As a teacher, I think this is a fantastic book for any class library. It would be a perfect way to introduce many topics including inventions, transport and people of the past, and topics that link to the environment and saving the planet. Children of all primary ages would find something interesting in this book!

Picture book / Reviewed by Jemma Jeffrey, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 5+


Once Upon a Big Idea is a brightly coloured and fun guide to the wonderful inventions humans have made since the Stone Age, right up to the present day. The text rhymes and is a large, easy to read font; the illustrations are inclusive and eye catching.

This book is not necessarily for a future inventor, as it doesn't promote thinking about what could be invented next, but it will stimulate discussion around how humans have created ways to make life easier and run smoother and suggest what the world's most important invention ever was!

The cover papers are thick and textured and the pages are glossy and tactile; the book begs to be picked up and locked at and many children - particularly reluctant - readers will be entranced.

Picture book / Reviewed by Wendy Kelly, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 7+


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