Not Peter McInnes, Peter McInnis, Peter Macinnes, Peter Maginnis, Peter McGuinness, Peter McGuiness, or Peter Magennis. (This is here for people who can't spell my name, and who are looking for information about any of my books)

Books I have written and contributed to

I write books, mainly but not entirely about science, and in the past, they have been mainly for kids, though I am now writing mainly for adults. See my book covers album for snapshots of more covers than I offer here, especially of my more recent books.

Note: I now put this information on my main writing page, so that is a far better place to go. One of these days, I will get this page up to date (at which point I will delete this), and for now, I am leaving it here.

The cover of 'The Desert' The cover of 'The Rainforest' The SlamDunks, like these picture books, are a collaboration with Jane Bowring, an excellent editor and a good friend, who justifiably appears on the cover as co-author. So on to the illustrated children's books seen on the left. Each of the thumbnails links to a larger version.

Penguin Australia published two of a projected series of picture books for beginning readers with exquisite pictures by Kim Gamble. That first topic was Australian deserts and Australian rain forests is the second.

A page from 'The Desert' A page from 'The Rainforest'

Here are two pages from the books. These are smallish JPEGs which don't really do justice to Kim's superb art work, but even the books cannot capture all of the luminous colour that we see in the originals. This is the problem with colour printing: it is never as good as the originals, which are truly brilliant.

In 1998, "The Desert" was cited as notable in the CBC Book of the Year awards -- and made it onto the Clayton's award list, but not the real thing. "The Rainforest" was shortlisted for the Wilderness Society's Environment Award for children's literature -- we missed the Big One, but, hey, somebody out there likes us -- and in July 2000, we took out a Whitley award for "Best Children's Book -- Story and Illustration". See The Whitley Awards page of the Royal Zoological Society of NSW for more.

You can see some reviews of 'The Rainforest' if you wish.

Previous publications

Note -- this section is still being assembled, because I'm still writing. They are in chronological order, newest at the bottom.

Major or sole author:

The Car -- Friend or Foe
Reading Rigby, 1981, ISBN 0 7270 1150 2
Science in Action, Book 1
Longman Cheshire, 1983 -- with Tom Bray, ISBN 0 582 68577 X
Science in Action, Book 1, Teacher's guide
Longman Cheshire, 1983, ISBN 0 582 68596 6
Science in Action, Book 2
Longman Cheshire, 1985 -- with Tom Bray, ISBN 0 582 86719 3
Science in Action, Book 2, Teacher's guide
Longman Cheshire, 1985, ISBN 0 582 86736 3
Exploring the Environment
Longman Cheshire, 1986, ISBN 0 582 86748 7
Science in Action, Book 3
Longman Cheshire, 1989, ISBN 0 582 86779 7
Frog Watch -- looking at frogs more closely
Australian Museum, 1992, ISBN 0 7305 9864 0
Applied Studies in Science, Mathematics and Technology
Longman Cheshire, 1993, with Andrew Clarke, ISBN 0 582 91044 7
Send it to Forensic (SlamDunk)
Longman/Emerald City Books, 1995, ISBN 0 582 80706 9
Tall Tales or True (SlamDunk)
Longman/Emerald City Books, 1995, ISBN 0 582 80715 8
The Desert
Puffin Originals, 1997, with Jane Bowring, illustrated by Kim Gamble, ISBN 0-14-056123-3 -- the first run sold out in three weeks, and we have had several reprintings. (Withdrawn from sale May 2001). See above.
The Rain Forest
Puffin Originals, 1999, with Jane Bowring, illustrated by Kim Gamble, ISBN 0-14-037855-3 -- the first run was released in the shops in August 1999. It may or may not still be available -- Penguin are a bit dreadful about efficiency.
Allen and Unwin, published in June 2002, this is the story of sugar, from 9000 years ago, as it travelled across the world, and also the story of the way sugar changed the world. Click here for some more information, or buy it from Amazon in the UK -- in the US, you can buy it at It is also listed at Amazon Japan.

In 2012, I signed the contract for a Russian translation of Bittersweet.

Allen and Unwin, published in July 2003, this is the story of rockets, from 800 years ago, as they spread across the world, left the world, and changed the world. Click here for some more information.

The Killer Bean of Calabar
Allen and Unwin, published in July 2004, this is the story of poisons and poisoners. Click here for some more information.

Poisons: From Hemlock to Botox and the Killer Bean of Calabar
This is the Arcade edition of Killer Bean in the US, and it is still the story of poisons and poisoners. Published in May 2005, ISBN 1-55970-761-5, paperback 2006, ISBN 1-55970-810-7. There has also been a Barnes and Noble edition, based on the Arcade edition. The Barnes and Noble edition has the ISBN 9781567318142.

It's True! You eat poison every day
This is an account of some common poisons. Written for young people, the point is that poisons can be useful if they are used properly. Published January 2006, ISBN 1-74114-626-7. Here is a review link. There has also been a simplified Chinese translation of this.

Zabijácka fazul'a z Calabaru
This is a translation of "Killer Bean" into Slovak or Slovakian (take your pick). ISBN 80-89217-11-7, 2006.

Kokoda track : 101 days
Kokoda track : 101 days, ISBN 2147483647, published February 2007. You can read what the publisher has to say here. This account is written for younger readers. This work was shortlisted for the NSW Premier's History Prize. It was an Eve Pownall Honour Book in the 2008 CBCA awards.

Fasolka z Kalabaru o truciznach i trucicielach prawie wszystko
This is a translation of "Killer Bean" into Polish. ISBN 83-7163-442-0, 2006.

Australia's Pioneers, Fools and Heroes
ISBN 9781741960488 published November 2007. The less-known explorers, the ones who were shot by their camels, ate strange things, drank foul water, got trampled by their horses and worse.

The Killer Bean of Calabar (Russian edition)
This is the translation of "Killer Bean" into Russian out in April 2008 from SoLibri. The ISBN is 978–389–00128–9. I will need a bit more time to transliterate the Russian title, as it is curly Cyrillic.

No title as yet
This is a dummy entry for a translation of "Killer Bean" into Korean (due in May 2007, I have yet to see it). I have seen the Korean edition of Mr Darwin's Incredible Shrinking World, but I have yet to list that. I'm busy!

The Speed of Nearly Everything
The Fast Book, as it once was, is now out. It offers a wide-ranging look at fast and slow things in our world -- including snails, chameleons' tongues, the causes of Cerenkov radiation, centrifuges, runners, the effects of temperature on a dijeridu, glacial flow, moose cavalry, the movement of tectonic plates, running footmen, pyroclastic flows, centrifugal birthing tables, scramjets, tidal bores, the postal services of Cyrus of Persia, the bulls of Pamplona, steamships seeking the Blue Riband, moose cavalry -- and slow and fast space drives. After that, it gets interesting.

Mr Darwin's Incredible Shrinking World
The story of science and technology in a year of massive change: what it was like, how it changed, what changed it: Darwin was only a small part of it all. It came out in late 2008.

100 Discoveries
For a US publisher, this will be produced in Australia by Pier 9. Released February 2009..

Australian Backyard Explorer
A title for the 10 - 14 range, combining the history of exploration and some practical fun and games that help young people to have fun and understand a bit of what the explorers were about. This is a commission for the National Library of Australia. Released in 2009, this was the 2010 CBCA Eve Pownall book of the year: this is an award for information books. In 2011, it was one of 250 books from around the world listed in the White Ravens.

This is a social history about grass, lawn, lawnmowers, lawn obsessives and lawn sports.

The Monster Maintenance Manual
Sadly, it's already out of print. Not so good for a Younger Readers notable book in the 2011 CBCA awards,

Australian Backyard Naturalist
A title for the 10 - 14 range, due out May 1, 2012. A companion volume to Australian Backyard Explorer. The National Library of Australia is publishing it.

Curious Minds
A title for more mature and adult readers, due out October 1, 2012. A spin-off volume to Australian Backyard Naturalist. The National Library of Australia is publishing it. It is about the naturalists and natural history painters who described Australia over about two centuries: 100 years before 1788, and 100 years after, more or less.

A title for adults. A serious look at the hunger for gold and the real price we pay for gold, plus quite a few ripping yarns.

Curious inventions Drafted, still to be sold. I need to revise it.

A series
Not talking about this yet: there are actually two series, and I am trying to decide which to run with. This one is for young people of all ages who like to chortle. The one that I think of under this heading has a contract, so it will go first.

A series
Not talking about this either: there are actually two series, and I am trying to decide which to run with. This one is historical fiction, set in 19th century Australia, and it is fast becoming my favourite.

Another two histories of things
I like doing histories of things, and I have been gathering ideas for a really fascinating one that will take me around many places across the world, but the first is at least two years away.

Part author:

Biology Data and Resource Book
Longman Cheshire, 1983, with Jim Hawes, Rex Meyer and Peter Stanbury, ISBN 0 582 71054 5
Biology Data and Resource Book
Hulton Educational (UK), with Jim Hawes, Rex Meyer and Peter Stanbury, ISBN 0 7175 1291 6
The Common Threads book 2
Australian Academy of Sciences, 1991, ISBN 0 85847 174 4, chapters on disease and animal behaviour
Helping Children learn Science
With Jim Hawes, Lee Lee Aow Goh, and a team of Micronesian teachers, the final report of a curriculum workshop under the FASE Project, Pohnpei, 1993.

Anthologies, chapter author

Reports and Records of Achievement for School Leavers
("A Method of Moderating Assessment Marks from School-based Courses") -- Australian College of Education, 1988 ISBN 0 909587 49 3
Ockham's Razor 2
Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 1988, ISBN 0 642 53081 5, "Fraudo the Frog"
Ockham's Razor 3
Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 1991, ISBN 0 7333 0184 3, "What's in it for the Seagull?"
All Us Apes and Other Scientific Wisdom from Ockham's Razor
Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 1997, ISBN 0 7333 0533 4, "Keeping People in Cages".
To Mars and Beyond: search for the origins of life
Edited by Malcolm Walter, 2001, published by the National Museum of Australia, ISBN 1 875460 14 4, chapter 1: Cosmology and Invention
World 2000: People, Places and Events from World History
Webster Publishing, 1999, ISBN 1 86398 304 X
Australia 2000: People, Places and Events from World History
Webster Publishing, 1999, ISBN 1 86398 303 1
Australia, The Complete Story
Global Book Publishing, 2001, ISBN 1 74048 001 5, The Human history of Australia: science and technology.

This file is
It was last revised on April 4, 2012, when I more or less caught up.
It was created by Peter Macinnis --
But note that unless you put my first name at the front of that e-mail address, you will land in my spamhole.

Unless otherwise indicated, all materials shown here are free of any copyright restrictions.

The home page of this set is here.

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