Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Marvelous Mattie
How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor

by Author/Illustrator Emily Arnold McCully

      I admit; I rarely choose nonfiction picture books when shopping for a gift for my six year old. Unfortunately, that means I would probably have missed out on Marvelous Mattie - a book my daughter is wild about. It's the story of Margaret E. Knight, a girl who lived in the 1800s and loved to build things - much like my daughter. Mattie built toys for her brothers and useful things for her mom. But Mattie lived in a time when girls didn't build. Girls didn't invent. And girls surely didn't patent. Thus when Mattie is the first person to invent a much-needed machine - someone steals her design, thinking it will be easy to convince a judge that a female could never do such complicated work. My daughter hung on every word of Mattie's story and was much relieved by the ending. The soft illustrations are a captivating mix of soft period style and engaging characterization. Some of the pages have line drawings along the borders - showing plans for some of Mattie's creations. My daughter particularly enjoyed pondering those illustrations. This is an inspiring book for any girl - and fascinating for any child, girl or boy, who loves to build. We found it a delight.

The Book

Farrar Straus Giroux
February 2006
Hardcover Picture book
Nonfiction picture book Ages 4 - 8
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The Reviewer

Jan Fields
Reviewed 2006
NOTE: Reviewer Jan Fields is the editor of Kid Magazine Writers emagazine and has written dozens of stories and articles for the children's magazine market.
© 2006