Saturday, January 17, 2015

Spic and Span! Lillian Gilbreth's Wonder Kitchen by Monica Kulling


"Spic and Span!..." is the biography of Lillian Moller Gilbreth, a woman of many hats: inventor, industrial engineer, author, professor and psychologist. In addition, Lillian was the mother of eleven children! Lillian and her husband Frank were one of the first efficiency experts in the early 1900's. They analyzed worker's movements and made recommendations for their improved performance and safety. Lillian's husband passed away unexpectedly, which left Lillian with the task of providing for her large family by herself. Consequently, she went to work for Macy's analyzing the efficiency of their cash handling process. With limited time to cook for the family, Lillian found herself trying to improve the flow of her own kitchen. This led to a new area of expertise: kitchen design and invention. She invented the electric mixer and pedal-opening trash can, among other things. The clarity of writing and illustration in "Spic and Span!..." lends itself to readers ages 7-12.  It's a great introduction to a little-known woman who was a pioneer in the field of industrial engineering (and also part of a series entitled "Great Idea Series" which showcases other obscure inventors).

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