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In the Bag!: Margaret Knight Wraps It Up

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  • Posted September 22, 2011

    This Girl Has Grit!

    This Girl Has Grit!
    A master at writing biographies for young readers, Monica has written three books for the Great Idea Series, published by Tundra Books. I have to say, "In The Bag: Margaret Knight Wraps It Up" is my favorite book in the series to date.

    Like many children growing up in the 1850s, Mattie began working at age 12 to help support her family. Working at a cotton mill, she witnesses a terrible accident as a shuttle flies off the loom, injuring a young worker. Mattie wondered if anything could be done to help make the looms safer. It turns out, Mattie has a mind for solving problems and a knack for building things. In fact, she made the best kites and sleds in town! In hopes to make the shuttles safer to operate, Young Mattie invents a special shuttle cover. The factory owner is duly impressed and installs the stop motion device in all his looms. Unfortunately, Mattie is too young to register a patent. Worse, no one believes a child-and a girl, no less - could invent such a device.

    Mattie, however, does not give up her love of inventing machines. By the time she's thirty, she has become an independent woman. While working at a paper-bag factory, Mattie has another great idea: to build a machine that would cut, fold and paste a flat-bottom bag. After years of trial and error, Mattie succeeds in creating the design. Before she can patent it, however, she needs to build an iron model. But nobody believes a woman can think of such a design, much less make it work. As she struggles to find someone to help build her model, the scandalous Charles Annan steals her idea. Now, Mattie must fight to prove she is the designer!

    Monica's lively narrative brings the indomitable Mattie to life. Mattie does not give up! This is an engaging, inspiring easy read aloud.

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