THE FIX-IT MAN

Illustrated by Arree Chung

HarperCollins

ISBN: 978-0-06-237085-3

Meet Joshua James, the Fix-It Man. If he can’t fix it, no one can! When a stinky problem arises, Joshua James takes matters into his own hands with a little help from his younger sister, Sophie.
This playful read-aloud story with catchy text and imaginative illustrations is sure to inspire young inventors everywhere.


Booklist

Joshua James is a fixer: he makes repairs, and he invents and builds as well. To “fix” the problem of his younger sister’s smelly diapers, he hatches Operation: Dump the Diapers, a fantastical plan that involves a series of pulleys, cranes, Ferris wheels, and many more simple machines to get the diapers removed from the house. J.J. is a hands-on operator, tweaking his invention as needed and comforting his sister when she

has a mishap. After the invention is successfully put in motion, the hatching of a bird’s egg demonstrates how nature “fixes” things. The brief text is in a jaunty rhyming format, and its enthusiasm is mirrored in the illustrations. The digitally enhanced mixed-media pictures work on two levels: for those interested in a quick read, the cartoon-style illustrations show J.J. happily involved in various tasks, while schematic-style drawings are included throughout to give a detailed view of J.J.’s inventions. This will have broad appeal, especially for those who like to have a tool in their hands.

 

— Randall Enos
School Library Journal

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.

–Krista Welz, North Bergen High School, NJ
School Library Journal

10 to Note: Fall Preview 2016

Here’s how these previews work:

  1. I look at all the books.
  2. I pick 10 that jump out to me.
  3. I share them with you.
  4. THE FIX-IT MAN An excellent example of illustrations (which show step-by-step Rube Goldberg machines) taking a story about a tinkering tot to greater heights.
—Travis Jonker