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Switched On, Flushed Down, Tossed Out

Investigating the Hidden Workings of Your Home

by Trudee Romanek
illustrated by Stephen MacEachern

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how things work-are made, house & home
list price: $14.95
also available: Hardcover
published: 2005
publisher: Annick Press

A secret-agent spin on the technology running through a house.

Casey, who loves a good spy story, wonders about the mysterious, unseen workings of a home. How does tap water get to the top of an apartment building? Where does his garbage go? And how does his friend's voice come out of the telephone?

So begins Casey's dogged investigation into the hidden (and not-so-hidden) workings of the home. Switched On, Flushed Down, Tossed Out follows Casey through sixteen case files investigating such processes as:

  • Water sources, hot and cold, and how it travels to your taps
  • Sewage treatment and waste water disposal
  • Garbage disposal and recycling
  • Power generation and how electricity travels
  • Telephone, television, and radio transmissions
  • Heating and air conditioning.

Each case file offers clear explanations, helpful diagrams, and interesting facts about these and other familiar elements in both houses and apartments. Meanwhile, fascinating sidebars offer surprising examples of household workings throughout history and around the world. A final section offers a glimpse of how our homes may function in the future.

Casey soon discovers the only thing more interesting than a mystery is discovering the facts. So, too, will readers be intrigued by Trudee Romanek's funny and informative look into the not-so-secret world behind the walls. Meanwhile, Stephen MacEachern's vibrant cartoon illustrations and clear diagrams will keep even the most hardboiled detective laughing and well informed.


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Contributor notes

Trudee Romanek is a children's book editor and the award-winning author of Zzz... The Most Interesting Book You'll Ever Read About Sleep and The Technology Book for Girls and Other Advanced Beings.

Stephen MacEachern is an accomplished graphic designer and illustrator whose books include 38 Ways to Entertain Your Babysitter and The Kids Guide to Money Cents.


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Editorial Reviews

An eye-opening look for younger children to the complex systems that warm, cool, shelter and entertain them at home.

— Kirkus Reviews

Conversational, but clear, providing general information with attempting to be too detailed... there is plenty of useful information here that should intrigue and education kids about everyday household mechanics.

— School Library Journal

There's plenty of fun in the amazing facts, and clear explanations about electricity, water, heat, and how ordinary household things work. The text is lively and colloquial, and the numerous headers are often playful puns. The double-page spreads, perfect for browsing, burst with bright cartoon images.

— Booklist
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About the Authors

Trudee Romanek

Trudee Romanek is a children's book editor and the author of The Technology Book for Girls and Other Advanced Beings. She has also written magazine and textbook articles for kids and adults. She lives in Barrie, Ontario.
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Stephen MacEachern

STEPHEN MACEACHERN studied both animation and illustration at the celebrated Sheridan College. His first book, Lights, Camera, Action!, written by Lisa O’Brien, won the White Raven Award. He lives in Erin, Ontario.
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