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Marveltown Hardcover – September 30, 2008


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Stick and Stone
Words do matter as Stick and Stone demonstrate in warm, rhyming text even the youngest reader will understand. See more featured books. Read more about the author Beth Ferry and the illustrator Tom Lichtenheld.
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3—In Marveltown, the style and aesthetics of the 1950s meet awe-inspiring inventions for a retro look at the future. In this city created by inventors, "man-made wonders" are everywhere: a giant disk of farmland can be flipped over in December to reveal a playground and rotated again come spring, there's a mechanical-animal zoo, and citizens can go rocket-jumping by moonlight. Every Saturday, kids are allowed inside the Invent-o-Drome, and they've already created a Rocket Chair; a radio-controlled Ripple Rug for tripping bullies; Hypno-Goggles, a clean-bedroom hologram for fooling parents, and more. Meanwhile, the adults have been busy building electrohydraulic robots to construct a Skyway held up by invisible ion rays. When an errant mouse chomps an important wire at Robot Central Command, the machines run amok and begin to demolish the town. As the adults flee for their lives in a scene reminiscent of a Godzilla movie, the Marveltown kids fight back using their inventions to destroy the marauding robots. The boldly colored, nostalgic-looking illustrations depict the action with detail, vitality, and humor and will easily grab readers' attention. The creative fun of a world filled with cool inventions shines through and will get kids thinking of their own innovations.—Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Working in a sort of 1950s vision of the future, which is equal parts nostalgic and innovative, this picture book is a lighthearted romp through the possibilities of the unbound imagination. Marveltown is a place where flights of fancy come to life. Residents go sky-skiing for fun, drive around on a skyway held up by ion rays, and work in the Invent-o-Drome to come up with ever more fantastical and farfetched creations. Even the kids get in on the fun, inventing homework-eating mechanical dogs, Hypno-Goggles, and the Rocket Chair, which can launch a kid from home to school in seconds flat. When giant worker robots go nuts and run amok (as robots are wont to do) it is the kids’ inventions that save Marveltown. But for all the geared gadgets and clever contraptions at play, it is the peerless power of the kids’ ingenuity that shines in the end: “Everywhere, super-sly kid power was clobbering brute robot power!” Give this to all the little inventors and tinkerers, and let their own imaginations run amok. Grades 1-3. --Ian Chipman
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (September 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374399255
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374399252
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 0.4 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,056,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Yana V. Rodgers on October 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Inhabitants of Marveltown have used their extroaordinary creativity and engineering skills to develop their town into a futuristic place with the biggest, most enjoyable, and most efficient contraptions imaginable. People could drive through a special carwash at 80 miles per hour, fish from atop a mile-high tower, and turn a large area of farmland into a winter playground at the flip of a switch. The clever children learned quickly from their parents' ability to innovate, and free access to the supplies in the "Invent-o-Drome" gave the kids unrivaled opportunities to produce their own marvelous inventions.

When the parents built enormous electro-hydraulic robots to take over construction of the new airborne highway, they did not realize that a small electrical mishap could turn the robots into an army of menacing monsters. Can the children save Marveltown from destruction?

Bruce McCall tells a fascinating story that is centered around some important ideas in economics related to innovation and production. Namely, Marveltown's various inventions have allowed the residents to do things better and faster, enjoy new activities not imagined before, and improve their well-being. This lesson is woven into an action-packed account with intriguing illustrations. Hold onto your hats and go for an incredible ride into Marveltown.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sylvia Bergeson on July 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a school librarian. I had around 100 1st graders read a group of 25 books published within the last year. This book was voted number one!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautiful illustrations and a fantastically weird retro-futuristic sitting. The idea of sky-high roads and sky-scraper-sized swing sets should appeal to any boy or girl between four and 10.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Raj on January 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for my seven year old nephew. He really enjoyed the illustrations - every page is full of incredible detail. We pointed at different things in the background and made up our own little stories about the inventions and things that were happening.

However, I have to say that the language was a bit difficult for a small child. And I can't imagine a child much older really enjoying this kind of a book. So it feels a little like it was written for hipsters who like a little irony and satire with their graphic novels.

But maybe that's not fair, it's possible that over time my nephew will explore the pages of the book and keep discovering and imagining new things on the edges of each page.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robin Benson on May 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A delightful bit of froth from Mr McCall, the artist who lovingly keeps the magic of the Streamline age alive. I enjoyed it a lot more than his previous concept book: `The last Dream-O-Rama' which I thought was much too little in too much book. Marveltown is back to paintings that give you a return on many repeat viewings.

Nicely the book can be appreciated by teens and old geezers like me. Certainly worth a buy as is the best of McCall in 'Zany Afternoons' and 'All meat looks like South America'. These two books are gems because they reprint his magazine features over the last few decades.

###LOOK INSIDE THE BOOK BY CLICKING 'customer images' under the cover.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tonya Wren on August 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Beautiful illustrations; imaginative.

Prose is reasonably good for a children's book, I've seen worse.

However, this book is amazingly sexist. There are very few female characters in the book at all; they are vastly outnumbered by male characters in both illustrations as well as the storyline. There is only one girl among the child inventors, and she invents the "world's largest flying model" of an airplane. (You mean, like a real airplane? That already exists?) In addition, her "invention" is not used in the final battle to control the robots like the boys' inventions are. (She is at least pictured in the battle. Once. Dropping bananas in front of a robot to make it trip and fall. How inventive.)

Don't believe me?

I counted 113 people illustrated in the book that were large enough to see clearly.

Of those 113, eleven to twelve are female.

2 are girls running into the Invent-O-Drome in a large pack of boys.
(1 might be a female wearing a labcoat on the same page; if she is as she, she is one of four labcoat-wearing scientists.)
1 is a girl standing in line to have her homework chewed up by a boy's invention.
2 are "Babette": the honorary girl child inventor who invents something that already exists and then uses bananas against the robots instead of flying her "invention" around to stop them.
1 is a mom being controlled by a boy's invention (and yes, there is a dad being fooled by another boy's invention).
1 is in a group of three children dizzied by the loop-de-loop airplane landing strip.
1 is part of a couple watching the Flipover Farm.
2 are part of couples viewing the robot carnage after the battle.
1 is a girl flying around on a maypole cord at the end of the book.
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