Awesome Dawson

illus. by author. 40p. Little, Brown. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-316-21330-1.
PreS-Gr 2—Readers first see Awesome Dawson in his bedroom, which is tricked out with a variety of homemade furniture and toys, captioned with word balloons indicating the materials used for each item. Declaring that "EVERYTHING can be used again," the young inventor descends into his underground workshop to do his thing, but is interrupted by his mom reminding him of his chores. He decides to invent a robot that will do them for him. He connects a rake, broom, watering can, pool hose, and gum-ball machine to an old vacuum cleaner to create the Vacu-Maniac. Unfortunately, he used cat food for the creature's brain, and it now has an insatiable appetite. It sucks up everything in sight, growing bigger until it explodes through the ceiling and starts to attack the town. He goes after it with his rubber-band-powered airplane and with the help of his friend, a talking cow toy, manages to defeat the monster. Like all good superheroes, Awesome Dawson pledges to use his recycling talents only for the good of humankind (and to help with chores). Gall's comic-book-style art was made by engraving on ink-coated clay board and using a wireless drawing tablet and Adobe software to add the bold colors. This technique suits the action of the outrageous story. Aspiring young inventors will enjoy identifying the assorted thingamabobs strewn throughout the pages and will wonder how they can get a talking cow of their own. A rollicking read.—Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT

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