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Reviewed by:
  • Awesome Dawson by Chris Gall
  • Elizabeth Bush
Gall, Chris . Awesome Dawson; written and illus. by Chris Gall. Little, 2013. 34p. ISBN 987-0-316-21330-1 $16.99 R 4-8 yrs.

Dawson, child inventor, is acclaimed by cast-off junk as "a hero to toys everywhere." Ever since he was just a tinkering toddler, knocking together a space helmet from spoons and a chicken take-out bucket or building a bathtub powerboat from newspaper and eggbeater, he's steadily improved his skills at turning recyclables into clever playthings. Even inventor prodigies resist parental orders to do their chores, and Dawson sets to work on a Vacu-Maniac robot that will do the work for him. The vacuum's propensity to suck up its surroundings moves from troubling to threatening as the more voraciously it feeds, the bigger it grows. The problem is traced to its cat-food brain, which Dawson replaces with the head of his favorite toy cow, Mooey, and a kinder, gentler, more useful robot is born. Dawson pledges hereafter "to use his powers only for the good of others," and the closing spread finds him piloting an airborne version of the Vacu-Maniac to fend off an invasion of space aliens. The plot's a little thin, but visiting Dawson's workroom is a bit like touring a junk-bedizened Batcave, and the slick, stylized art enhances the comic-book feel. Mooey, a bodiless cow head mounted on a unicycle, threatens to upstage Dawson with its eerily fixed stare and deadpan observations on the mayhem around them. Dawson's creation may not be as finely tuned as Mini Grey's Traction Man (BCCB 5/05), but a kid and a kluge is a reliable combination for an imaginative adventure.



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