From Benjamin Franklin to Steve Jobs, inventors have long had a hold on the American imagination. But exactly what makes something an invention? McCarthy (Daredevil: The Daring Life of Betty Skelton) again proves her nonfiction storytelling chops by using the humble earmuff and the man associated with it as a way to delve into some deliciously big ideas: what constitutes originality, the slipperiness of origin stories (note the careful wording of the subtitle), and the philosophy of patent law. Like any meaty topic, this one leads readers into side stories and digressions (Greenwood married a suffragette; the early promoters of Chester Greenwood Day mostly made stuff up about its namesake), all captured with crisp, slyly funny acrylics and populated with McCarthy’s customary goggle-eyed characters. McCarthy is the ideal raconteur: funny, curious, and eager to involve her audience in her pursuit of the truth (“What do you think really happened?” she asks at one point). Readers will come away knowing a lot more about earmuffs, and feeling like they’ve spent time with a very smart, very cool friend. Ages 4–8. Agent: Alexandra Penfold, Upstart Crow Literary. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/2014 Release date: 01/06/2015 Genre: Children's
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