The Fix-It Man

illus. by Arree Chung. 40p. HarperCollins/Harper. Nov. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062370853. POP
PreS-Gr 2—Rat-a-tat-tat! Make way for Joshua James and his tool belt and hard hat! In this lighthearted and innovative story, Joshua (aka Mr. Fix-It) tinkers with broken household items and manages a checklist on his clipboard. One day, he tries to concoct a mechanism that dumps his sister's smelly diapers from the house into the outdoor garbage can. Once his plan is in place, the wheels start turning and the Fix-It Man is on the case. Two silly critters, assumed to be household pets, dillydally across each page either assisting the children or taking part in mischievous activities, which adds even more humor. Some of the content is displayed in comic book layout, along with some catchy onomatopoeia to grab readers' attention. Joshua's contraptions are each illustrated in a sequential order of lettered parts that could help children follow along with the mechanics of inventive construction. The children and animals are drawn with cartoonlike characteristics, such as oversize heads and squat legs, while watercolor and ink illustrations cover each spread. The subjects of brothers and sisters and apologies are explored as the story progresses, demonstrating what can go wrong when things don't go as planned.
VERDICT Pair with Andrea Beaty's Ada Twist, Scientist for a terrific session on the trial and error of tinkering and problem-solving. A recommended general purchase.

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