Series: Great Ideas Series
Author: Monica Kulling
Illustrator: David Parkins
Publisher: Tundra Books
Book source: review copy from publisher
From the publisher:
In 1850, Margaret Knight was different from most girls growing up in America. She loved to work with tools and fashion things with wood - people claimed she made the best kites and sleds in town! By the age of twelve, Margaret was working at the local cotton mill alongside her two older brothers. One day a shuttle came loose form a giant loom and flew across the room, injuring a young worker. This inspired her to invent a stop-motion device - the first of her many inventions. Best known for designing a machine that made the flat-bottom paper bag, Margaret Knight became a woman of astounding accomplishment.It always amazes me how much a good writer can achieve in a very few words. There can't be more than a thousand in this book, but Kulling manages to describe Margaret Knight's childhood, her major inventions, and the cultural attitudes she had to overcome as a woman in a world that believed only men could understand machines. The portrait that emerges is of a smart, strong, determined lady that boys and girls alike will admire. In addition to being packed with information, there's a lovely story-telling feel to this book - I especially liked the link Kulling creates between Margaret's first visit to Maxwell's store and her final one.
I loved the illustrations in this book as well - they add a wealth of detail. From the clothing people wore in Matty's day, to the details of the machinery, to the facial expressions which evoke so much emotion, Parkins' images enhance every page. I had fun studying them for interesting period details, and loved the way characters in the background of one illustration became central to the action in later pages.
A great book for kids and libraries alike.
For more information, check out Monica Kulling and David Parkins' websites.