My first thought after opening up Sneaky Green Uses for Everyday Things, a new book by Cy Tymony: Cy’s place must look pretty different from mine, because his “everyday things” are definitely not things I have laying around my apartment. No, I don’t have any voltmeters or heavy copper wire at home, much less a “small solar cell, with wire leads attached”!

Which is to say: Cy’s book wasn’t quite what I expected — but was still engaging for totally different reasons. Sneaky Green Uses is like a sneakily educational science class full of fun demonstrations and experiments. Always wondered how a hybrid car works? Sneaky Green Uses doesn’t just explain the tech; it lets you make your own mini hybrid using a toy car and common office supplies. Curious about solar power? Sneaky Green Uses lets you turn your toy car into a solar toy car.

That latter task will, however, require your acquiring a “small solar cell, with wire leads attached” from I don’t know where — which makes me think Sneaky Green Uses is not really about using everyday things in new ways, but more about explaining how everyday eco-things work for the curious environmentalist.

To be fair, Sneaky Green Uses does contain some reuse ideas — but those ideas aren’t particularly original. Cutting up a cereal box to create a magazine holder, mixing green household cleaners, or folding origami (to reuse paper) are not particularly new ideas. Still, projects like using cereal boxes to design a robot-shaped recycling bin could make for a good crafty afternoon for kids.

Choose your project wisely though. Directions for making a “Sneaky Green Eco Hat” or “Sneaky Green Vest” basically just consists of sticking everything from a tire gauge to a collapsible cup to “eco-fact cards” onto a perfectly good cap or vest. I fear the resulting hats and vests will not be particularly functional — and that the poor eco-conscious kid who dares wear such a contraption in public may get picked on and beaten up pretty fast.

That perhaps explains Cy’s book bio, which begins thusly: “In grade school, Cy Tymony defended himself from bullies with the help of a spring-loaded shocker hidden up his sleeve.” Unfortunately, the directions for this shocker aren’t included in the cap or vest-making instructions…. Some helpful energy-conservation and recycling tips are, however. Sneaky Green Uses is available at Amazon for $10.18.

Image: Courtesy