Mr. Murphy’s Marvelous Invention

by Eileen Christelow

Mr Murphy’s Marvelous Invention
Clarion, 1983

“Strong story hour possibilities here.” — ALA Booklist

“Christelow’s rousing story and cheerful drawings are guaranteed to provoke plenty of giggles as the wacky doings unfold.”  — Publishers Weekly

— Junior Library Guild selection

The Story:

Mr. Murphy, inventor of useful and not-so-useful gadgets, spends six months building a birthday surprise for his wife that will “…do almost any tiresome household chore.”

Mrs. Murphy is delighted but skeptical. The next morning they plug it in, and turn it on before he, Mrs. Murphy and the children leave for school and jobs.

When they return, the table is set, pots are boiling and the oven is hot. But a surprise awaits them! The amazing invention has cooked the laundry and washed their supper! And that is only the beginning…

What to do? Mr. Murphy rewires the machine, puts in new parts, oils it and even kicks it a few times. Mrs Murphy hopes the machine will disappear. But it’s the two Murphy children who finally help to solve the problem.

Two-color pre-separated art. Pen and ink and watercolor wash. (Learn about pre-separated art here)

The idea:

Before I wrote this story, I had recently purchased a new vacuum cleaner which the manufacturer claimed could clean the house, dry our hair, and spray-paint a car. We only used it for cleaning but it did give me the idea for Mr. Murphy’s Marvelous Invention. The Invention bears some resemblance to our old vacuum cleaner.

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