Hedy Lamarr, once considered the "world's most beautiful woman," was a famous actress in the late 1930s and 40s who had a secret life as an inventor. Born in Austria in 1914, Hedy was always inquisitive. She tinkered as a child at home and began acting as a teenager in the theater. After marrying an overbearing older man, she fled to America and became a movie actress. She continued inventing in America, in the process creating a new Kleenex box and a light-up dog collar. While attending a party during World War II, she came up with the idea for her most important invention: a frequency-hopping machine which would allow torpedo transmitters and frequencies to change in coordination. Once the idea was patented, Hedy and her inventing partner George Antheil's discovery was not put to use until the 1960s. Today Hedy's invention is used in Bluetooth, WiFi, cell phone, and computer technology. Wahl's short biography presents a fairly well-rounded look at Hedy Lamarr. Her seemingly incongruous twin image as glamorous actress and passionate inventor will be intriguing and encouraging to many young readers. Wallace's primarily paper collage artwork is beautiful and adds to the glamour of her biographical subject. The picture book's smaller than normal trim size will appeal to the reader who may think they've outgrown picture books. Libraries can easily add this title to their collections knowing it can be used for many different types of readers.
The latest by prolific children's book author Jan Wahl, Hedy and her Amazing Invention teaches kids about the pioneering scientific work and inspiring courage of Hedy Lamarr, the famous Hollywood actress who fought against old-fashioned parents, a domineering husband, prejudice, and stereotypes to become an accomplished inventor whose work helped pave the way for many of the communications technologies we enjoy today.