In 1818, seven-year-old Elisha was fascinated by farm machinery. As a young man, he tried a variety of ways to make a living, but nothing fired his imagination more than the job he found in a bed-frame factory. Soon he invented a machine that made frames four times faster than ever before. In 1852, while overseeing the construction of a new factory, he had to find a way to move heavy machinery to the second floor. He didn't trust the hoisting platform, so he invented a safety brake. It was so successful that rather than lift machine parts, Elisha decided to build "people-hoisting machines." In 1857, Elisha Otis installed his first successful passenger elevator in a five-storey department store in New York City. Before Elisha's invention, buildings were never higher than six stories. At last it was possible to build skyscrapers!
About the Author
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, MONICA KULLING is a poet who has published many books for children, including picture books, adaptations of classic novels, and biographies. Known for introducing biography to children who are just learning to read, she has written about Harriet Tubman, Houdini, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Amelia Earhart, among others. Her book It's a Snap! George Eastman's First Photograph, illustrated by Bill Slavin, was the first in Tundra's Great Idea Series, followed by All Aboard! Elijah McCoy's Steam Engine and In the Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps It Up. Monica Kulling is also the author of the hilarious Merci Mister Dash!
Award-winning artist DAVID PARKINS has illustrated more than fifty books for children. He began his career at Dyfed College of Art in Wales, where he studied wildlife illustration. From there, he attended the Lincoln College of Art.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Hold That Elevator! Monica Kulling’s Great Ideas Series showcases forgotten heroes, inventors who changed the course of history but whose inventions we now take for granted: George Eastman’s first photograph, Elijah McCoy’s steam engine, and Margaret Knight’s folding paper bag. The fourth book in the series tells the story of Elisha Otis and his elevator. As with her previous books in the series, Monica blends fiction and nonfiction to create an authentic historical and social landscape, as her poetic prose create very assessable characters. “Going up!” shouts seven-year old Elisha Otis as he watches the hay hoist. It’s 1818, and young Elisha loves watching farm machines at work. He carries this love with him as he – at nineteen -- moves away from the farm, eventually starting his own family. By 1845, Elisha is working in a bed-frame factory, when he is inspired to make a machine that makes bed rails more quickly. His bed rail turned proved so successful, he is put in charge of building a new bed frame factory in Yonkers, New York. As he built the new factory, however, Elisha didn’t trust the hoisting platform; if the platform failed, as they often did in those days, falling machine parts could hurt people. So, he built a safety brake. “Going up!” Elisha shouts to his men, as he began testing his safety brake. Once the platform reaches full height, he shouts, “Let it fall!” The workers are astonished as they watch – and the safety brakes hold the platform! And then, Elisha gets a new idea: “One night in 1853, Elisha sat bolt upright in bed. His nightcap was skew. “We’ll lift people!” he shouted. “Lift people? Where?” mumbled a sleepy Betsy… “Why, to the sky, of course! To the sky!” But people didn’t trust the people-hoisting elevators. When the World’s fair comes to New York, Elisha finds his chance to prove his great idea. The rest is history, of course. David Parkins, who had also illustrated the critically acclaimed – and one of my favorite books – In The Bag: Margaret Knight Wraps It Up, captures the personality of Elisha, from his knitted brow of concern as he mulls over the design of the safety brake, to his wide-eyed eureka moment when he bolts upright in his bed. Other characters, too – his sleepy wife, the astonished workers, the amazed onlookers as he tests his machine at the World’s Fair – pop off the double-page spreads. Monica includes an author’s note, stating that before Elisha’s safety brake, buildings could only be six stories tall. Afterwards, however, the sky became the limit! Elisha’s invention made it possible to build skyscrapers. This is an excellent read aloud about having the determination to make a dream come true.