Book #163: Papa’s Mechanical Fish

Papa's Mechanical Fish -- coverI worry sometimes that all the quirky, exciting characters are male, especially when it comes to fun stuff like inventors, but this book is a great read nonetheless. In Papa’s Mechanical Fish, a new publication by Candice Fleming, a family sits back and watches as their father tries to build an underwater vessel. It’s a fascinating story with amazing illustrations, and Ray loved it.

While on a fishing outing,Virena  says to her inventor father, “Papa, have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a fish?”  This is naturally all the father needs to hear.  He’s off and running, inventing one underwater failure after another. The family stands by and watches the antics.  “I’m so glad I brought along this life preserver,” Mama says.

Papa's Mechanical Fish -- underwater

Papa eventually succeeds in building an underwater submarine large enough to hold his entire family. Again, great illustrations.

papa's mechanical fish

The book is a work of fiction, but in the author’s note Fleming tells us that there is some basis for the story.  Apparently in the 1850s an inventor called Lodner Phillips brought his family beneath the surface of Lake Michigan. He was consumed with improving the basic design of the original submarine, although none of his patents were ever purchased.  He died young, too, at forty-three.  ABZ

Papa's Mechanical Fish -- underwater fish

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