Monday, January 22, 2007
Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor
McCully, Emily Arnold. 2006. MARVELOUS MATTIE: HOW MARGARET E. KNIGHT BECAME AN INVENTOR. New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux. ISBN 0374348103 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-6]
This picture book biography recounts the inspiring life of Margaret Knight. Born in 1838, she grew up in poverty. Even so, a treasured tool box inherited from her father started Mattie’s lifelong love for machinery and inventions. She sketched and created toys for her two brothers, a foot warmer for her mother, and special kites and sleds.
Later, when Mattie and her family worked in a textile mill she found the machinery fascinating and even improved safety for other workers by creating a device that kept shuttles from flying off the loom. Eventually, when Mattie worked in a paper bag factory, she began trying to invent a method of manufacturing flat bottomed bags. After working for years to perfect her idea, she learned that someone who’d seen her prototype had stolen her idea and patented it first. The dispute wound up in court where the would-be inventor claimed that a woman could never understand the mechanical complexities of the new machine. Mattie’s sketch books and testimony from friends about her years of work persuaded the judge she was the true inventor.
McCully’s illustrations, a combination of line drawing and watercolor, paired with plentiful sketches of Knight’s inventions, give readers a sense of time period and the sequence of events. An author’s note and bibliography provide additional context for Knight’s remarkable accomplishments.
Read MARVELOUS MATTIE in preparation for an Invention Convention. To organize one, see http://www.eduplace.com/science/invention/overview.html.
Platt, Richard. EUREKA! GREAT INVENTIONS AND HOW THEY HAPPENED. ISBN 0753455803
Tomecek, Stephen M. WHAT A GREAT IDEA! INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD. ISBN 0590681443
By Suzy Parchman