Tundra's Great Idea Series are early-reader biographies. The third book in the series introduces the fascinating Margaret Knight. Known as Mattie, she was different from most American girls living in 1850. She loved to make things with wood and made the best kites and sleds in town. Her father died when she was only three and by the time she was twelve she was working at the local cotton mill, alongside her two older brothers. One day she saw a worker get injured by a shuttle which had come loose from the giant loom, and the accident inspired her to invent a stop-motion device. It was to be the first of her many inventions. Margaret devoted her life to inventing, and is best known for the clever, practical, paper bag. When she died in 1914 she had ninety inventions to her name and over twenty patents, astounding accomplishments for a woman of her day. Monica Kulling deftly uses easy-to-read language and lots of dialogue to bring an amazing, inspiring woman to life.
About the Author
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. Upon graduation, he became a freelance illustrator who spent many years drawing for the British children's comic The Beano and producing illustrations for several educational publishers. David Parkins is the illustrator of the critically acclaimed Clip-Clop by Eleanor Koldofsky.
What People are Saying About This
Shortlist - Governor General's Award - Children's Literature Illustration (2012)
“Third in the Great Idea series, this concise introduction to trailblazing American inventor … reveals a woman committed to living life on her own terms, unafraid to fight for her successes. In clean, straightforward prose, Kulling explains how Knight’s interest in and knack for machines was present even at a young age…. Paired with Parkins’s detailed and handsome pen-and-ink illustrations….”
“…Kulling provides the reader with a complete chronicle of Margaret Knight's life…. Kulling's In The Bag! is a book that will give young girls the courage to be who they are and know that they never need to apologize for it.”
—Recommended, CM Magazine
“In this fascinating picture book biography…. Young readers will be delighted to see how Margaret triumphs over those who are eager to discredit her.”
—Through the Looking Glass Children’s Book Reviews
“Women inventors have always received far less attention than men. This picture-book biography in the Great Ideas series focuses upon Margaret Knight, inventor of a machine for making flat-bottomed paper bags, a topic that should grab the attention of both girls and boys if for no other reason than the quirky invention itself…. Knight’s achievements are illustrated in an affable caricature style … highlighting Margaret’s spunk and determination.”
“[In The Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps It Up] … is a delightful picture book biography of a little known inspiring woman…. Kulling’s lively text tells an inspiring story about this determined woman who ‘never gave up without a fight.’ David Parkins’ charming illustrations are filled with carefully drawn period details and engaging humor. Each page turn reveals at least one full-page illustration in authentic-feeling sepia tones…. Don’t miss this really excellent book that opens the door to a multitude of curricular uses.”
–Bookends, a BooklistBlog
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reason for Reading: I enjoy Monica Kulling's children's biographies.Another delightful entry in the Great Ideas series! This time Kulling brings us an inventor probably not known to many people, certainly I'd never heard of her before. Margaret Knight was prolific with her inventions and patents throughout her life but her most famous achievement was in the paper bag industry. While she did not invent the flat-based paper bag she did invent the machine that made it possible to mass produce them instead of having each one individually hand produced. Margaret Knight is an interesting woman of the late 1800s, who went against the lot cast for woman of the time period. While she felt her life had been hampered because she was a woman she managed to rise above the attitudes of the day and achieve so much as a woman inventor.A great, interesting little story. I loved being introduced to this lesser known inventor and David Parkins illustrations are incredibly detailed with great facial expressions that nicely show the time period, being somewhat reminiscent of Rockwell. Must have for libraries.
This Girl Has Grit! A master at writing biographies for young readers, Monica has written three books for the Great Idea Series, published by Tundra Books. I have to say, "In The Bag: Margaret Knight Wraps It Up" is my favorite book in the series to date. Like many children growing up in the 1850s, Mattie began working at age 12 to help support her family. Working at a cotton mill, she witnesses a terrible accident as a shuttle flies off the loom, injuring a young worker. Mattie wondered if anything could be done to help make the looms safer. It turns out, Mattie has a mind for solving problems and a knack for building things. In fact, she made the best kites and sleds in town! In hopes to make the shuttles safer to operate, Young Mattie invents a special shuttle cover. The factory owner is duly impressed and installs the stop motion device in all his looms. Unfortunately, Mattie is too young to register a patent. Worse, no one believes a child-and a girl, no less - could invent such a device. Mattie, however, does not give up her love of inventing machines. By the time she's thirty, she has become an independent woman. While working at a paper-bag factory, Mattie has another great idea: to build a machine that would cut, fold and paste a flat-bottom bag. After years of trial and error, Mattie succeeds in creating the design. Before she can patent it, however, she needs to build an iron model. But nobody believes a woman can think of such a design, much less make it work. As she struggles to find someone to help build her model, the scandalous Charles Annan steals her idea. Now, Mattie must fight to prove she is the designer! Monica's lively narrative brings the indomitable Mattie to life. Mattie does not give up! This is an engaging, inspiring easy read aloud.