Inventor McGregor

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Overview

Inventor McGregor can invent most anything that needs inventing, from a barking bag for the postman to bouncing boots for wee Willie. At his home workshop, McGregor never knows when inspiration will hit: while surrounded by his cheery wife and children, singing a song, or painting a picture. "Just imagine how many more gadgets and gizmos you'll be able to think up with a clear head and no distractions," says the president of the Royal Society of Inventors, inviting him to work in the city. So why, in his new ...

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Overview

Inventor McGregor can invent most anything that needs inventing, from a barking bag for the postman to bouncing boots for wee Willie. At his home workshop, McGregor never knows when inspiration will hit: while surrounded by his cheery wife and children, singing a song, or painting a picture. "Just imagine how many more gadgets and gizmos you'll be able to think up with a clear head and no distractions," says the president of the Royal Society of Inventors, inviting him to work in the city. So why, in his new laboratory, is McGregor unable to think of a thing?

Rich language that skips and jumps combined with lively,

detailed art brings this delightful story home to young readers and their parents.

Hector McGregor, inventor of peppermint pencils, glow-in-the-dark books, and other unusual items, leaves his home workshop to work in a laboratory but finds that his inspiration comes from being around his cheery wife, five children, and a hen called Hattie.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Preschoolers will love the nonsense of the contraptions, beautifully captured in the sound and the rhythm of the storytelling. The wild, double-page watercolor spreads celebrate the farcical gadgets the inventor uses." —Booklist

"There is a natural lilt to the language that lends it a folkloric quality. Charming." —School Library Journal

"The sprightly pastel drawings are as lighthearted as the text, which bursts with energy and inventiveness." —Kirkus Reviews

Children's Literature
If it needs fixing or inventing, Hector McGregor is the man to mend or create any "thingamabob" or "thingamajib." He lives a simple, country life with his wife, five children, and Hattie the hen. Inventor McGregor enjoys taking walks, painting pictures, singing songs, and playing his fiddle as noted in the illustrations reflecting the fullness and happiness of McGregor's life. Word travels about Hector McGregor's inventing talent and the stodgy, lackluster gray Royal Society of Inventors pay a visit and convince him to take a position in the society and to work in his own laboratory in the city. Hector accepts the job and must take the train to the city to his distraction-less, plain workplace. Unfortunately he becomes stifled and loses his creative energy, as portrayed in the cold grays of the pictures. Hector feels defeated and uncreative. One day, inspired by the scene outside the laboratory, Hector McGregor realizes where his heart lies and regains his true passion and brings back the full color of his life. 2006, Farrar Straus Giroux, Ages 4 to 9.
—Carrie Hane Hung
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
Inventor McGregor takes a whimsical look at an age-old question: Where do ideas come from? In his higgledy-piggledy house in Scotland, Hector McGregor can invent almost anything—peppermint pencils, jelly bean erasers, tartan grass and glow-in-the-dark books. His life is full of distractions, though, with his cheery wife, five children, pet hen named Hattie and his own love of painting, singing, dancing and strolling outdoors amongst the bluebells and heather. The president of the Royal Society of Inventors whisks Hector off to his own big, bare laboratory in the city where, alas, the man can't come up with a single idea. So, it's back home for Hector McGregor, back to the distractions that prove to be his inspiration and keep his heart "both happy and full." The text by Kathleen Pelley, a native Scot, is rich in the rhythms and vocabulary of that rugged land. Kids will get a big kick out of phrases such as "whirled and whooshed and wheeched" to describe the family dance and will love repeating kilt-wearing Angus's complaint about "that wee scoundrel of a Scottie down Loopy Lane." Illustrator Michael Chesworth proves every bit as creative as the red-haired title character as he packs energy, color and a host of amazing inventions into each picture.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Hector McGregor has a happy life with his wife, five children, and a hen called Hattie. He is good at mending things, but in between jobs he has time to wander among the bluebells, paint pictures, and play his fiddle. Trouble comes when he makes a barking bag to help the postman ward off an errant terrier and discovers that he also has a knack for inventing. He makes bouncing boots for a short child, "helping hands" for a busy mother, and an alarm clock that pops a deep slumberer out of bed. Hector is persuaded by the president of the Royal Society of Inventors that he will be even more inspired if he works in a laboratory with no distractions. Once ensconced in the lab, however, he finds no inspiration at all. After painting his family on the walls, Hector realizes that his happy home life has been the source of his inspiration all along. Pelley is a native of Scotland, and her text is peppered with colorful expressions ("[he] played a rousing reel or a sweeping strathspey, while-[his family] whirled and whooshed and wheeched"). There is a natural lilt to the language that lends it a folkloric quality. Chesworth's exuberant cartoons capture Hector's joyful family life as well as his forlorn isolation. This charming tale could be coupled with Uri Shulevitz's The Treasure (Farrar, 1979) for a discussion of appreciating what lies directly in front of you.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
McGregor lives in a higgledy-piggledy house "with a cheery wife, five children, and a hen called Hattie." He likes to sing, dance, paint and fix things for people. And every night he fiddles while his family and his hen "whirled and whooshed and wheeched." His inventions are clever and daffy (a barking bag that scares off the dog that tortures the postman), and he does his work with a happy heart. But the president of the Royal Society of Inventors pays a visit and wants him to work in the laboratory and take his inventing seriously. Off goes McGregor, only to find that the very joys in his life are what inspire him to invent, and he can't think of a thing to create while in the office. Back home he goes to a happy life full of joy and many new inventions, like jellybean erasers and books that glow in the dark. The sprightly pastel drawings are as lighthearted as the text, which bursts with energy and inventiveness. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374336066
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 3/21/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.07 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

KATHLEEN T. PELLEY was born and raised in Scotland and now lives in Greenwood Village, Colorado. MICHAEL

CHESWORTH has written and/or illustrated many books for children, including Jingle the Brass by Patricia Newman. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    LIVELY STORY DELIGHTFULLY ILLUSTRATED

    Hector is quite a fellow - he can invent anything that makes the world a better place. Thus, people called him Inventor McGregor. However, that isn't his only talent. He can also mend anything that needs mending, thus he's also known as Mend-It McGregor. He lives happily in a unique house with a perpetually cheerful wife, five children and a hen called Hattie. Things are never dull at their house for in the evenings Hector McGregor played a dance on his fiddle as everyone 'whirled and whooshed and wheeched' around the house. One day Angus the postman brought his mail bag to Hector - it had almost been torn to shreds by a feisty Scottie. Hector invented a barking bag, one that would bark if the Scottie even came close to it. Of course, it sent the dog running with his tail between his legs. Why, Hector even came up with peppermint pencils! What could be the source of his inspirations? That is something youngsters will discover in this lively story delightfully illustrated by Michael Chesworth. - Gail Cooke

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