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by Chris Gall ; illustrated by Chris Gall

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: March 19th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-316-21330-1
Publisher: Little, Brown

An inventive reuser builds a cleaning robot that threatens to eat his town.

Awesome Dawson repurposes everything. From his earliest childhood, he has made new things from old, including, most importantly, his best friend, Mooey. Together, boy and talking cow-head (Dawson likes to switch Mooey’s bodies around) save the town from the young inventor’s overachieving vacuum cleaner; on the final pages, they’re poised to save humanity from space invaders. The inspiration for this adventure is revealed in mostly sepia-toned endpapers showing a sea of household junk and a broken sign that reads MacGyver St. But the real appeal comes from Gall’s intriguing illustrations. These digitally colored prints made from engravings on an ink-covered clay board are crowded with things—robots, toys, Mooey’s ever-changing body, even furniture and airplanes—made out of discarded materials. Everything is carefully labeled. Old surfboards, plastic bottles, lobster claws and even cat food find new uses. Though his workshop is jumbled, tools (also carefully labeled) hang neatly on a pegboard. The text appears in boxes and speech bubbles, as in a graphic novel or comic strip. Even more than his monster cleaner, Dawson’s final constructions—a new car for his parents, yet another body for Mooey and an alien-chasing airplane—will remind readers of the author’s Dinotrux (2009).

Aimed squarely at small boys, this is action, adventure and imagination with a positive message. (Picture book. 4-7)