In this mild little variation on the uncontrollable-machine motif, Christelow makes the Murphy family into pigs and makes Mr. Murphy a persistent inventor of ""useful and not-so-useful gadgets."" For Mrs. Murphy's birthday, he devises his most complicated gadget so far: ""I haven't tried it yet,"" says Mr. Murphy, ""but it should do almost any tiresome household task."" That night, however, the Murphys find themselves eating laundry soup (soap and clothing) for dinner while their food hangs on the line. And after Mr. Murphy ""fixes"" the machine so it will do the sewing, they find their well-stitched garments stitched together and to the furniture. Finally, the pig kids Clotilde and Murdock step in, disguising themselves as Professor Mortimer and offering to buy the machine for $2.17. Their disguise fails but Mr. Murphy takes the hint, and works all night on a more modest gift. In running this through, Christelow tries hard for emphatic humor, both visual and verbal, but it just isn't clever enough in concept or detail to compete with machine entertainment.