Monday, April 5, 2010

The Solar Car Book

By Doug Stillinger

Klutz, 2002

$19.95 spiral-bound, ages 9-12, 48 pages

Does your child's head snap in the direction of every SMART car on the road? Does he think the latest innovations in renewable energy are just awesome?

Then chances are he'll flip for this simple kit for a sun-powered car.

When my three boys set up their solar car, it began spinning its wheels the moment they walked out of the patio door into a sunny Colorado spring day.

Along with everything you need to build a basic vehicle, the kit comes with a book of instructions, trouble-shooting tips, fun ways to run the car, as well as quick facts about solar chips, motors and more. (Just be sure you have a tiny screwdriver on hand for assembly.)

Best Parts: Though the car doesn't move fast, and has trouble with inclines and bumps, our boys were in awe that it didn't require batteries or have exhaust burping out the back.

They were equally fascinated to see how quickly the car stopped when their shadows crossed its path.

For my husband and I, the reward was seeing our boys energized by the potential that lies ahead -- not only for collecting solar energy, but harnessing other clean energy.

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