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Mr. King’s Machine needs to stop!

kings machineMr. King’s Machine, by Geneviève Côté (Apr. 2016, Kids Can Press), $16.95, ISBN: 9781771380218

Recommended for ages 3-7

Mr. King loves flowers! He notices that a caterpillar has taken a munched on a flower, he is NOT happy, and takes it upon himself to construct a Caterpillar-Catcher. But Mr. King trades one small problem for much bigger ones: his Caterpillar-Catcher is making a mess of the environment! It’s trampling flowers and grass, it’s belching awful gray smoke into the air, and most importantly, it’s stopping the caterpillar from doing his work: becoming a butterfly that will help flowers grow as they fly from plant to plan! Mr. King’s friends confront him, and he listens; then, he decides on a new invention, and takes apart his Caterpillar-Catcher to create a much more environmentally friendly machine: the Flower-Fan!

This is the third book in the Mr. King series; the first one I’ve read. You don’t need to pick up any of the other books to know what’s going on, just dive into this fun Earth Day-friendly tale for our youngest learners! Mr. King is a sweet, well-meaning lion (but he’s got no mane – maybe he’s still young?) who has a knee-jerk reaction and tries to take action. Toddlers and preschoolers will understand this, and they’ll understand how Mr. King’s friends see what he’s doing wrong. Use this as an interactive read-aloud and ask your readers what Mr. King’s doing wrong, too – it’s a great learning opportunity, especially if you’re talking about Earth Day, conservation, and pollution.

The mixed media artwork is adorable, with Mr. King standing out as a crayon-drawn character, set into what looks like collage backgrounds. It’s a great read-aloud book that toddlers and preschoolers can enjoy, and allows for a lot of interactivity: talk about what we can do as a community to make our neighborhoods nicer; how we can make our world a better place as a global community (a better discussion for school-age readers).

Mr. King’s Machine has received a starred review from Kirkus.

Geneviève Côté is a Montreal artist whose illustrations have graced the pages of publications such as the New York Times and the Boston Globe. Her books have received three nominations for the Governor General’s Award for Illustration, one of which went on to win, and she has also won the the Elisabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award.



I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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