Dayle Ann Dodds, , illus. by Kyrsten Brooker. . FSG/Kroupa, $16.50 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-374-32953-2

Whimsy appealingly infuses both Dodds's (Sing, Sophie! ) narrative and Brooker's (Isabella Abnormella and the Very, Very Finicky Queen of Trouble ) mixed-media pictures as they spotlight Henry's wacky creativity. From the time he was a baby, the child "loved putting things together." By the age of six, he had constructed "an Amazing Machine." Brooker's collage of an eclectic contraption incorporates a rubber ducky, boxing glove, keyboard and more. An array of toys, household items and bric-a-brac fill his entire room. The humorous hyperbole continues as the expanding machine overtakes each room in the house, after which Henry perseveres with his project on the lawn while his parents must pitch a tent in the backyard. Repeatedly, they ask their son what his machine actually does (it has "Whirling things, twirling things,/ Zipping, zapping, swirling things,/ Clunking things, thunking things,/ Slipping, sliding, dunking things!") and Henry cheerfully admits, "I haven't a clue." But kids will notice that the zany contraption energizes the town's residents; spot illustrations portray a reclusive widow inspired to step outside, a man who brings his carnival pony out of retirement to give children rides and the high school marching band taking to the streets. In the tale's upbeat finale, Henry's inclination toward spectacle-constructing brings even further pleasure to his neighbors. Youngsters will be entertained by the cheerful inanity and by the intriguing details of Brooker's compositions. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)