When a family computer goes kaput, a famous, but forgotten, typewriter comes to the rescue.
Once upon a time, the story starts, there was a typewriter: “Its pale yellow keys were held up by crooked metal elbows. Its gleaming silver arm stuck out like it wanted to shake your hand.” The typewriter has an impressive history: Its owner, Pearl, typed pamphlets for Martin Luther King on it, and her daughter, Penelope, used it to type a book for which she won a poetry prize. Years later when the computer moves in, the typewriter is relegated to an attic shelf. Then, one day Penelope’s son, Pablo, must write a paper about penguins for school. He doesn’t want to do it, and in a delightfully funny Give-a-Mouse-a-Cookie vein, one play activity leads to another until it’s after dinnertime. He buckles down, completes his research, is poised to write and then—his father’s computer freezes, and he’s sunk. But his mother digs out the cobweb-covered typewriter from the attic; Pablo, puzzled, asks where the screen is and how to plug it in. She explains how it works, and before long, he’s happily clickety-clacking away on it. This is a lovely, full-circle kind of story, related in bouncy writing characterized by gently percussive onomatopoeia, with expressive, appropriately retro illustrations in muted colors. Though it figures little in the plot, it’s heartening to see via the illustrations that the story involves a multiracial family.
A historic typewriter saves the day—and might even be around to stay. (Picture book. 5-8)