Marveltown

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What’s it like growing up in a town founded by inventors? On Saturdays, the adults open the doors of the Invent-o-Drome and give local children free rein to create whatever gadgets they can think up. Hypno-Goggles, a Rocket Chair, a homeworkeating robo-dog – the can-do kids of Marveltown are never at a loss for ideas. But when an unfortunate short circuit causes a group of giant robot workers to go berserk – and the adults flee for their lives – are the kids ready to put their ...

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Overview

What’s it like growing up in a town founded by inventors? On Saturdays, the adults open the doors of the Invent-o-Drome and give local children free rein to create whatever gadgets they can think up. Hypno-Goggles, a Rocket Chair, a homeworkeating robo-dog – the can-do kids of Marveltown are never at a loss for ideas. But when an unfortunate short circuit causes a group of giant robot workers to go berserk – and the adults flee for their lives – are the kids ready to put their know-how to the test?

In his first book for children, veteran illustrator Bruce McCall has crafted a tale of ingenuity and mayhem with pictures that pop with retro charm and crackerjack wit.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A really great picture book.”   Tina Fey
 

“Marveltown . . . is the place to be.” —The New York Times Book Review

“If you want kids to be smart and funny . . . run right out now and get yourself a copy of this book.” —The Late Show with David Letterman

Marveltown made me laugh out loud. Newfangled and old-fashioned all at the same time, it’s full of the best joys of childhood and adulthood.” —Steve Martin

Marveltown is another great ride through what has to be the most funnest visual imagination in any town! I love everything McCall does.” —Jerry Seinfeld

“This brilliant satire is only heightened by McCall’s retro-style paintings depicting the future as it was envisioned back in the 1950s.” —Cookie magazine

“McCall’s illustrations are wonderfully period, creating that 1950s view of the future world in the 2000s.” —SacramentoBook Review

“This is long on innovation—a good choice for readers with a healthy visual imagination.”
Publishers Weekly

“Marveltown is filled with machines so cool they would make Willy Wonka tingle.”
Kirkus Reviews

“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.” —School Library Journal

“Give this to all the little inventors and tinkerers, and let their own imaginations run amok.”—Booklist

Steven Heller
Have you ever wondered why New Jersey's Pulaski Skyway, named after General Casimir Pulaski, is not actually hanging from the sky? Given the explicit promise of its name, it has long been a real letdown. So for anyone, like me, who has ever daydreamed about a real skyway a mile above the ground held up by "invisible ion rays," or a rocket-propelled ski jump over a large metropolis, or a Rocket Chair that could shoot you to any location if you were late, then Marveltown, as chronicled in Bruce McCall's first children's book, is the place to be.…Despite the joyful fantasy world McCall has invented, where red biplanes pull sky-skiers through the clouds, I cannot believe that 5- or 6-year-olds will totally appreciate the humor. This book is so comically sophisticated, and sprinkled with such subtle details, that younger readers are likely to find it confusing. That said, for older children the zaniness should be enthralling.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

New Yorker contributor McCall makes his picture book debut with a tongue-in-cheek vision of the future. Marveltown is a utopian city of inventors, where drivers zip through tubular car washes at 80 mph and children "sky-ski" behind prop planes. "We kids learned that faster was always better," says the narrator. "And bigger was better, too." The nifty illustrations, with their superprecise brush strokes and streamlined shapes, suggest a mid-20th-century architect's rendering of millennial space needles, cantilevers and suspension bridges. In the long-distance views, people appear an inch tall and the sci-fi landscape takes precedence. About half the book is devoted to marvelous or mischievous inventions (sample: "Eli's bedroom hologram was diabolical: Dad saw spick-and-span perfection, when the reality was a place you wouldn't want to live in"), which McCall paints in a meticulous, deadpan style reminiscent of William Joyce's Dinosaur Bob. Then he concocts a rickety plot where the adults' robots go haywire, B-movie style, and the children defeat the robots with their own devices. If short on story, this is long on innovation-a good choice for readers with a healthy visual imagination. Ages 5-8. (Oct.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
Marveltown is a city created by inventors, featuring an 80 mph car wash on a section of freeway, a "flipover farm" which reverses seasonally from playground to farmland, and a zoo of mechanical animals. Marveltown's kids are just as inventive as their parents. Every Saturday at the Invent-o-Drome, the kids develop their own creative projects: the Rocket Chair that can shoot tardy students to school in six seconds flat, the Homework Grinder that lends truth to the excuse "The dog ate my homework," the Ripple Rug for tripping up school bullies, and the Bedroom Hologram for fooling parents on room-cleaning day. When the electrohydraulic robots designed to build Marveltown's Skyway are inadvertently diverted onto a path of destruction by a cable-chewing mouse, it's the kids' inventions that save the day and earn them "a place in history." McCall, a veteran writer and illustrator, here turns his own creative and inventive talents to his debut children's book. The result is a quirky mix of 1950s nostalgia and 21st century science fiction: the world of the future as it would have been imagined by Dick and Jane. Its triumphant message of kid empowerment will appeal to kids anywhere. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
School Library Journal

K-Gr 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

Kirkus Reviews
Beginning with the exhilarating sky-skiing invented by the children of Marveltown, this picture book will thrill budding science-fiction enthusiasts. Marveltown is filled with machines so cool they would make Willy Wonka tingle. Every Saturday the children are given access to the Invent-o-Drome and are free to let their imaginations soar. There's the Rocket Chair that gets riders to school in six seconds. There's the Homework Grinder, a metal dog that will eat your homework for a nickel. Then there's the ever useful bedroom hologram that can fool parents into thinking the room is spotless. Meanwhile, the Skyway Project, an airborne road, is under construction by the electrohydraulic robots. These guys are giant mechanical contraptions who also do lifting, paving and coffee-fetching, until a short causes them to run amuck. Good old kid power prevails: They and their marvelous doohickeys take down the robots. The fantastical gouache paintings awe the eye with taffy colors, depicting a world where Star Wars meets the Jetsons, a place where if you can imagine it, you can make it happen. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374399252
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 9/30/2008
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.14 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Meet the Author

BRUCE MCCALL is best known for his work as a writer and illustrator for The New Yorker, Car and Driver, and National Lampoon. He lives in New York City.

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