Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Lonely Typewriter

The Lonely Typewriter

Peter Ackerman
Illustrator:  Max Dalton 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
David R. Godine, 2014   ISBN: 978-1567925180

Years ago a young woman bought herself a brand new typewriter, which she used to type pamphlets for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Twenty years later the woman’s daughter, Penelope, used the typewriter to type a book that won a prize. She also used the typewriter to write her first love letter to a young man called Paxton. Then Penelope bought herself a computer and the typewriter was consigned to the attic where it sat on a shelf, forgotten and lonely.

   One day Penelope’s son, Pablo, played ping-pong with his sister Sam. He painted pictures with his other sister, Piper. He played pirates with his siblings, making his brother Fred walk the plank. Then they all had “the best pillow-fight ever.” The one thing Pablo didn’t do was to work on the paper he had to write about penguins. Eventually, after dinner, Pablo’s parents told him that he had to get to work. He had procrastinated enough.

    Pablo used his father’s computer to learn about penguins which, to his surprise, he discovered are fascinating birds. Pablo was ready to write about penguins when his father computer broke. He had no way to write his paper!

   The devices that we use every day and take for granted - the computers, cell phones, and tablets - are wonderful, but when they fail to work we have a tendency to panic. We forget that not that long ago, in a simpler time, people used pencils, pens, and typewriters to write their letters and papers. This charming story reminds us that sometimes the old ways of doing things are still of value. Sometimes their simplicity is a good thing, and by using them we learn to appreciate that a tool does not need to be new and hip to be useful.