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Inventor McGregor    by Kathleen T. Pelley & Michael Chesworth order for
Inventor McGregor
by Kathleen T. Pelley
Order:  USA  Can
Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

This charming picture book stars Hector McGregor, inventor extraordinaire. He invents all kinds of gadgets for the townsfolk, including an alarm clock that pops your head from a pillow like a Jack in the box and a pump that lightens children's schoolbooks by blowing them up with helium. My favorite, (every mother's dream), are sets of extra hands for Mrs. McIver to deal with her triplets. 'Every morning, with a flick of a switch, off they went wiping noses, zipping zippers, tying laces, and holding hands.'

When a big corporation hires him for his inventor skills, McGregor falls into a hopeless, creative slump. He is pictured as a small figure in an empty room, virtually free of new ideas. Hector also misses being at home: 'There he sang his snippet of a song, painted a picture, or twirled a whirl of a fling.' The townspeople stare and stop calling him Inventor McGregor. It is only when he follows his heart that he regains his creativity and his sense of purpose.

The language has a Scottish flair and is absolutely contagious in its rhythm, which makes it enjoyable for parents to read out loud to their children. The comical illustrations are crucial to the book because they showcase McGregor's wonderfully inventive devices. This remarkable book is a tribute to the creative spirit in all of us.

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