cover image Rube Goldberg’s Simple Normal Humdrum School Day

Rube Goldberg’s Simple Normal Humdrum School Day

Jennifer George, illus. by Ed Steckley. Abrams, $17.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-2558-6

George pays irreverent tribute to her grandfather, cartoonist/tinkerer/inventor Rube Goldberg, imagining how an average school day might have unfolded for him. Naturally, it would involve all manner of wild contraptions, and the book’s text, Steckley’s accompanying cartoons, and even the titles of each vignette hark back to Goldberg’s famous invention-themed comics. In “An Easy Way to Get Dressed,” the bespectacled Goldberg hurtles down a bannister into a pair of pants and onto fireplace bellows, “which blasts puff of air onto sleeping cat (C). Startled cat leaps off scale, lowering iron (D) onto air pump (E).” Other inventions let Rube sneak into class on a skateboard and multitask while doing homework and practicing piano. It’s almost as much fun to imagine the setup and cleanup each of these mechanisms requires: Rube’s toast breakfast involves smoothie-soaked kitchen curtains and a chaise lounge that’s been slathered with butter. The scenarios and almost diagrammatical text start to become repetitive, but the individual scenes are sure to pique kids’ imaginations. Closing notes suggest ways to use the book alongside STEM studies. Ages 5–7. [em]Agent: Laura Nolan, Aevitas Creative Management. (Aug.) [/em]