Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 19, 2019

Book Giveaway: SAVE THE CRASH TEST DUMMIES by Jennifer Swanson

Jennifer Swanson has a new non-fiction picture book titled, SAVE THE CRASH TEST DUMMIES. Published by Peachtree Publishing. Jennifer has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Jennifer!

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


This entertaining book navigates readers through the history of car production and offers a front‐seat view of the science and engineering that makes the world’s most important vehicle safe for us to drive.

Cars take us to work. To school. To soccer practice. To the grocery store and home again. Can you imagine a world without them? It’s not easy! One of the reasons we can use cars so much in our everyday lives is because they are safe to drive. But that hasn’t always been the case. If it weren’t for the experiments conducted over decades that involved all kinds of crash test volunteers—dead, alive, animal, or automated—cars as we know them might not be around. And then how would you get to school?

Filled with fun four‐wheeled nuggets of history and explanations of how cars actually work, this nonfiction book from former science educator and award-winning author Jennifer Swanson will appeal to lovers of all things that go and readers who are interested in getting in under the hood and seeing how things work. 


I guess you could say that my journey to get this book published in a lot of ways mimics a crash-test dummy’s life. In other words, lots of re-doing, re-configuring, and re-testing. But in the end it is ALL worth it!

The idea for this book started from a much more focused topic: Self-driving cars. I did some research on self-driving cars in 2014 for a different book and I became hooked on them. A bit obsessed, really. (I actually emailed Google several letters asking if I could test-drive one of their cars. No response, of course. But, hey, I tried.)

Anyway, the technology and engineering required to make a self-driving car was simply AWESOME!  To this STEM nerd anyway. I knew I had to write a book about them. The problem was, what is the HOOK?

We all know that no book sells without a fabulous hook. Over the next three years (3!) I came up with many different versions of this manuscript. None were exactly right. I was close, but to sell a topic like this I really needed an over-the-top sort of approach.

That came from a somewhat unlikely source—a crash-test dummy.

Do any of you remember watching the Crash-test dummy safety videos of the 1980s? Back then they were trying to get everyone to Buckle Up!  [Kathy, here is a link to a commercial from then if you want to use it: ]

Well, in 2017, they brought a version of these videos back. That night, while on the daily dog walk with my husband, I brought up the videos and said how if they come up with a self-driving car, the crash-test dummies would be out of a job.

He responded with, “Yes. Self-driving cars would be saving the crash-test dummies”.

That was IT! Save the Crash-test Dummies was born!!

I wrote up the proposal and off it went. The best part though, was that I happened to meet Peachtree Publishers’ Vice President and Associate Publisher, Kathy Landwhehr, at an SCBWI Southern Breeze conference. I pitched it to her, and she loved it. The rest, as they say, is history.

Peachtree Publishing has done a FABULOUS job designing the book. I LOVE it! The brilliant creative director, Nicki Carmack, created a book that would look like an old car manual. And she brought on board the awesome TeMika Grooms to illustrate “Crash”. TeMika’s illustrations will make you laugh out loud.

The book takes the reader on a historical journey through the history of car safety. They will meet Crash, their crash-test dummy narrator. He introduces readers to his family—the big, the small, and the in-betweener dummies.  (Yes, there is even a crash-test dog named Fido)

The book then gets into a bit of how today’s cars have gone through a bunch of different designs. Some of them make sense, others, well, are let’s just say interesting. Take this one for example, it is the earliest version of a bumper. But actually, it was designed to scoop up cows that might have wandered onto the train tracks. Called a “cow-catcher”, people put it on the front of their cars because they thought it would be better for the pedestrian to be scooped up by the net than run over by the car. Good thinking!

This book covers all of the safety parts of a car: bumpers, air bags, seat belts, and mirrors and cameras. TeMika’s comical illustrations serve to back up the information presented in the text. As shown below, if you don’t have a sideview mirror, simply borrow your friend’s head. Naturally, that only works if your friend is a crash-test dummy and can donate one.

Finally, YES! The last chapter is on my beloved self-driving cars. After all, if we have them, then we won’t need Crash and his pals.

Not so fast, though. Crash and company are being used to help test the future of transportation. Don’t forget to read the back matter where we discuss the Hyperloop, nuclear-powered cars, a jetpack, and even flying cars!

I have had the BEST time researching and writing this book. I hope kids and readers of all ages will enjoy learning about the one machine that most of us find indispensable. After all:

Cars take us to work. To school. To soccer practice. To the grocery store and home again. Can you imagine a world without them? It’s not easy!

Let me leave you with two sayings from Crash:

Safety First! And Buckle Up!


Science Rocks! And so do Jennifer Swanson’s books. She is the author of over 30 nonfiction books for children. A self-professed science geek, Jennifer started a science club in her garage at the age of 7. While no longer working from the garage, Jennifer’s passion for science resonates in in all her books but especially, BRAIN GAMES (NGKids) and SUPER GEAR: Nanotechnology and Sports Team Up (Charlesbridge) which was named an NSTA Best STEM book of 2017 and an NSTA Outstanding Trade Book 2017 Top reviews include a starred review in Booklist, and recommended reviews from School Librarians Workshop, Library Media Connection, and a Nerdy Book Club award. Her book, Astronaut-Aquanaut (National Geographic Kids) is a Junior Library Guild Selection. Find Jennifer through her website

Thank you Jennifer for sharing your book and its journey with us. It is an interesting book, that I am sure even the adult will enjoy and learn from. Good luck!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Such a great book. I can’t wait to read this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So excited for this incredible book, Jen! I’ll ask my library to order. Also tweeted:


  3. So much fun! Love that it is designed like an auto manual. My (adult) son would also love it, since he’s really into cars and manuals. Congratulations!


  4. Kathy, I also shared this on Twitter & FB.


  5. What a cool book, I bet kids will love it. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!!
    I’ve tweeted a link to this post:, and pinned an image on Pinterest with a link as well:
    I also follow your blog daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, have a great day everyone!!


  6. Wow, what an original idea – such fun! I almost jumped out of my seat when I saw the self-driving car in Chapter 7 -Robot Drivers. That is a Google self-driving car and I recognized the artist because I was one of the 10 winners. This book is sure to be a winner -chock full of interesting information. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the way Jen’s mind works and can’t wait to read this!


  8. This story behind the story was fascinating! I loved reading the great facts provided as samples, and the book design and illustration are perfect matches for Jennifer’s text. Kids of all ages will love this one!


  9. Another STEM hit from Jennifer! Would *love* to get my hands on this one…


  10. What a great idea for a book! And so well researched.Can’t wait to read all of it, Jennifer. Kathy, love getting your blog daily, especially the ones sharing new books like this one.


  11. What a fascinating topic for a book, Jennifer! It’s on my “must read” list, which is expanding daily:-)


  12. Can’t wait to see this book! I follow your blog and tweeted the post.


  13. What a fun concept for a book. Thanks for an interesting post.


  14. I’m so looking forward to reading this one, Jennifer! And of course I follow this blog–I wouldn’t miss all these great books!


  15. This book sounds like fun! Way to put a unique concept out there!


  16. This book sounds fascinating. My son, who wants to be an engineer would enjoy it. Shared on Twitter and I follow Kathy’s blog.


  17. Sounds like a fantastic book. Not sure if this giveaway is over?


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