Tundra’s Great Idea Series is comprised of biographies of inventors for early readers. 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 that had come loose from the giant loom, and the accident inspired her to invent a stop-motion device. It was the first of her many inventions.
Margaret Knight 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’s easy-to-read text, peppered with lots of dialogue, brings an amazing, inspiring woman to life.
Monica Kulling was born in Vancouver, BC and received a BA in creative writing from the University of Victoria. She has published over 30 books for children, including picture books, adaptations of classic novels, movie tie-ins, and biographies. Known for introducing biography to young children, Monica has written about, among others, Harriet Tubman, Houdini, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Amelia Earhart. Monica’s first book for Tundra, It’s A Snap! George Eastman’s First Photograph, was voted an OLA 2009 “Best Bets” selection. It is nominated for a 2011 Silver Birch Award. Monica Kulling lives in Toronto.
Tundra’s David Parkins is the award-winning illustrator of over fifty children’s books. He began his career at Dyfed College of Art in Wales, studying wildlife illustration. He then went to Lincoln College of Art for three years, and has been a freelance illustrator since his graduation in 1979. He spent several years at the beginning of his career producing illustrations for educational publishers, and has earned most of his keep drawing for the British cartoon, The Beano. David Parkins lives near Lansdowne, Ontario.
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