________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 9. . . .October 28, 2011


In the Bag!: Margaret Knight Wraps It Up.

Monica Kulling. Illustrated by David Parkins.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2011.
32 pp., hardcover, $19.99.
ISBN 978-1-77049-239-4.

Subject Headings:
Knight, Margaret E., 1838-1914-Juvenile literature.
Woman inventors-United States-Biography-Juvenile literature.
Children as inventors-United States-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Inderjit Deogun.

*** /4



It took Margaret two years to make a wooden model that worked. She watched intently as the machine cut a strip of paper and glued it into a tube. Then it cut the ends and folded them into a square. Presto the flat-bottom bag!

Margaret was so thrilled that she turned out hundreds of trial bags, one after the other. Soon she was surrounded by an army of bags, waiting for their carrying orders!

Margaret knew her invention was a good one it was time to patent it. That way, no other inventor could steal her design and make money from it. But, first, she needed an iron model that worked, and, for that, she needed a machine shop.

Margaret hopped on a train heading for Boston. There, she found a machine shop and placed her wooden model on the counter. She laid her design drawing beside it.

"Please make an iron model based on this design," Margaret said.

"Why didn't your husband bring in this invention himself?" asked the machinist.

Margaret stood as tall as she was able. "Because I am the inventor," she said.


Margaret Knight, Mattie for short, is not like other girls. She loves to make things with wood. In fact, Mattie makes the best kites and sleds in town. When she witnesses the injury of a worker at the local cotton mill, she is inspired to create a stop-motion device for the giant looms. Mattie's device singlehandedly ensures the safety of all workers at the mill. Mattie next focuses her energy on fashioning the flat-bottom paper bag. However, when her ability to acquire a patent is threatened, Mattie doesn't give in but fights back.

internal art     Monica Kulling's In The Bag! is the third book in Tundra's "Great Idea" Series. Kulling provides the reader with a complete chronicle of Margaret Knight's life. She highlights not only the many obstacles Mattie encounters but also how Mattie works tirelessly to overcome them. Kulling's portrait of Margaret Knight is that of a girl who possesses the gumption to be herself and live her dream. 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.


Inderjit Deogun is currently pursuing a career in publishing with a particular interest in children's literature.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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