Stuff happens. Things break, but fixing them can be as much fun as breaking them, sometimes.
Young, bespectacled Joshua James is a fix-it kind of kid. Not only can he mend the chair and get the couch-pillow bridge back up, but he is an inventor as well. Getting out of bed can be a drag, so why not invent a Rube Goldberg–ian device to make the day’s entrance exciting? In Chung’s busy, clever illustrations, Joshua James’ cockamamie plans use physics and gerbils to get the job done. Hood’s text is a different matter. The rhymes are tired (“Joshua James is the Fix-It Man. / If he can’t fix it, no one can!”) and tonally out of sync with the smart ebullience of the illustrations. There are also elements of the narrative that are strangely wayward: when Joshua James’ baby sister runs afoul of a pulley, Joshua James apologizes; when Joshua James’ dad takes a header after stepping on a skateboard the Fix-It Man left on the walk, readers are told, “Everyone goofs, and things can break. / Even dads can make mistakes!” Yeah, Dad, watch where you’re walking. The characters all have brown hair and light skin.
Think of it as a cautionary tale. If you can fix a chair, you can put away the skateboard. (Picture book. 4-8)