Hubert Invents the Wheel

( 3 )

Overview

Is Hubert on a roll, or is his invention spinning toward disaster?

Hubert loves to think, and not only does that distinguish him from his father, Gorp, and everyone else in ancient Sumeria, but it leads to the greatest invention of all time—the wheel. It takes a while for his neighbors to see the wheel as a major technological advancement rather than a newfangled coffee-table top, but eventually they do, and life is great.

Well, life is great ...

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Hubert Invents the Wheel

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Overview

Is Hubert on a roll, or is his invention spinning toward disaster?

Hubert loves to think, and not only does that distinguish him from his father, Gorp, and everyone else in ancient Sumeria, but it leads to the greatest invention of all time—the wheel. It takes a while for his neighbors to see the wheel as a major technological advancement rather than a newfangled coffee-table top, but eventually they do, and life is great.

Well, life is great until the Sumerians’ archenemies, the Assyrians, find out about the wheel and use it to plan their destruction. Now the question is not whether Hubert’s invention is ahead of its time, but whether he should have stuck to designing living room furniture instead of causing civilization’s demise.

Hilarious and profound, Hubert’s adventure brings the ancient world to life.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Hubert is an unappreciated 15-year-old inventor in ancient Sumeria. His dad orders him to stop creating things after the boy's well-intentioned efforts end disastrously. When Hubert finally invents the wheel and proves its value by winning a race, things change fast. But this success leads to new complications including traffic jams and war machines. Broad comic scenes are balanced by wordplay and lively dialogue. Juxtapositions between the realities of Hubert's time and today are especially effective. Applying concepts like "road rage" and play-by-play announcers to the world of 3000 B.C. provides many of the funniest moments. Some references ("edifice complex" and "Corinthian leather," for example) may be lost on younger readers, but there are plenty more that they will find funny. Playful cartoon line drawings (one per chapter) complement the fast-paced narrative. Most of the characters are basically two-dimensional, but this fits the comedic plot just fine, and their qualities, from the superstitious Queen to the greedy owner of a "new and certified pre-owned sledge dealership," are distinct and varied. Hubert, meanwhile, is a fun protagonist to follow. By the time he saves the day with yet another invention (irrigation), he's learned about the dangers and powers of technology, and a bit about himself, too. Like William J. Brooke's A Is for AARRGH! (HarperCollins, 1999), this enjoyable novel demonstrates that ancient history can be surprisingly funny.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Fifteen-year-old Mesopotamian Hubert will never be the Hauler his father hopes he will. Hubert takes after his mother; he's a scrawny, brainy inventor. Still, he tries to please his dim-but-well-meaning, sledge-driving Dad since Mom was lost in an unfortunate umbrella incident. Hubert and his onager (small horse with large attitude) Hodja invent in their spare time. Though founded on sound ideas, Hubert's inventions always go wrong until he invents the wheel and changes society-and puts it in danger from hunky-but-desperate Assyrian leader Ajax. Ever the answer man, Hubert saves his city from Ajax's plot and all ends well. Anachronism, silly humor and slapstick abound in this history-that-never-was adventure. Some of the humor will shoot over the most astute of the target audience: Vain Queen Eridu likes statues of herself; everyone knows she has an Edifice Complex. However, there are enough laughs and action to keep readers reading, and Shelly's cartoon illustrations are an asset. (Fiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802789907
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publication date: 10/14/2005
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 900L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.11 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Claire Montgomery and Monte Montgomery have seen their work produced on stage, screen, and television. After dark, they can be found playing and singing pop tunes and jazz standards in nightspots throughout Southern California. Hubert Invents the Wheel is their first book.

Jeff Shelly grew up observing the humorous side of life, which has always inspired his art. Jeff lives with his wife and their three dachshunds in the Hollywood Hills.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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