The Marvelous Thing That Came From a Spring: The Accidental Invention
of the Toy that Swept the Nation
Written and Illustrated by Gilbert Ford; Photographs by Greg Endries
Atheneum Books for Young Readers (September 13, 2016)
Nonfiction * Inventions * Technology
Audience: Ages 7 to 10
Indiebound | WorldCat
Description from GoodReads:
With magnificent dioramic illustrations, Gilbert Ford captures the joy, creativity, and determination behind the invention of an iconic, one-of-a-kind toy: the Slinky!
One day, a spring fell from the desk of Richard James, an engineer and a dreamer. Its coils took a walk…and so did Richard’s imagination. He knew right away that he had stumbled onto something marvelous.
With the help of his wife, Betty, Richard took this ordinary spring and turned it into a plaything. But it wasn’t just any old trinket—it was a Slinky, and it would become one of the most popular toys in American history.
Some quick thoughts on the book:
I am not one of those people that remembers all of their toys from when they were children. However, there were a few that I remember fondly....
and this one really dates me but a Show and Tell Record Player. I loved this one.
Another one of those toys I remember distinctly was a metal slinky...
I remember watching to see if it would go down the staircase without getting all tangled up.
Imagine my surprise to find out that there is a nonfiction picture book about the couple who created the slinky. Gilbert Ford, who has illustrated the Secret Series by Pseudonymous Bosch and also the illustrator of Mr. Ferris and His Wheel by Kathryn Gibbs Davis, has written and illustrated his own nonfiction picture book and its about the slinky. What a brilliant choice for a book.
As with many inventions, an idea came from an every day observation. And with the help of his wife and son, the idea of the slinky was born.
With a small loan and 400 slinkies, Richard had to find a way to encourage interest. A chance demonstration at a department store just before the Christmas holiday was just the break the couple needed to launch their new business.
In addition to providing young readers with some information about how the slinky was created and came to be, Ford moved from his typical illustrative style to the use of mixed media and dioramas. Each spread is meticulously created in 3D form. (See below for a link to a video of Ford's process.)
Definitely worth adding this one to your collection of nonfiction picture books. Also, great as a discussion starter about creativity and imagination and inventions. Look for a copy of The Marvelous Thing That Came From a Spring at your local indie bookstore or community library.
Check this link to a video where Gilbert Ford talks about the process he went through to make The Marvelous Thing That Came From a Spring. Check Ford's blog for more information about the making of The Marvelous Thing That Came From a Spring.
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