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
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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