The Marvelous Thing that Came from a Spring
By Gilbert Ford
Athenium Books for Young Readers, 2016
The Marvelous Thing that Came from a Spring tells the story of how Richard James, an engineer and dreamer, came to invent the Slinky, a classic American toy.
It all happens by accident in 1943 when Richard is working for the United States Navy during wartime. His assignment is to invent a device to protect fragile ship equipment from vibrating in choppy seas.
A spring falls from a shelf onto his desk. Richard is fascinated by how the coils seems to take a walk. Maybe it won’t work for the Navy’s ships, but he knows he has stumbled upon something marvelous.
With the help of his family, Richard invents a new toy. The Slinky becomes one of the most popular toys in American history.
The delightful illustrations of old-fashioned drawings are sprinkled with photographs of vintage toys like marbles, game pieces and dollhouse furniture.
Children may be inspired by the story of an accidental invention. Undoubtedly, they will love looking for the many fun details in Ford’s illustrations.
About the Author/Illustrator
Gilbert Ford has illustrated many middle grade jackets, as well as the award-winning picture book Mr. Ferris and His Wheel. He holds a BFA in Illustration from Pratt Institute and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. This is his first nonfiction picture book.