You Build It TV Remote Control: Zap It! (SmartLab)
Clive Gifford, Shar Levine, and Leslie Johnstone
SmartLab (2004)
ISBN 9780974848693
Reviewed by Dylan James (age 12) for Reader Views (4/09)


The “You Build It TV Remote Control” kit by SmartLab comes with a book and two experiments.  The book is called “Zap It!”

“Zap It!” is one of the more interesting build-it books I’ve read. Not only does it teach kids about light waves, electricity, and history, but it also does it in a fun way that ultimately leads to building their very own remote. I had some difficulties building it, because the wires were hard to wrap around, so I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone younger than 10-years old.  Even then, they would have to have an adult to help them.

“Zap It!” explains the many different ways light and electricity are used, how they are helpful, and contains very interesting facts.  I liked the book, but I think it was a little too hard to build the remote. If it were easier, this book would have a much larger base of readers and would do much better. After I painstakingly put the remote together, I found out it didn’t work on our TV because our TV was too new. I was ready to give up at that point, but then I tried it on my Grandma’s old TV and it actually worked. I loved it! It changed channels, turned the volume down, and could even mute the TV. It was also fun because you had to program the remote, which gives a sense of a secrecy/spy feeling. All in all, as long as the reader has adult help, they will be thrilled with the “You Build It TV Remote Control” kit by SmartLab.

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