The Lonely Typewriter

  • silver Winner of the 2014 INDIE FAB Book of the year Award

Pablo Pressman has homework to do, and Pablo will do almost anything to avoid doing his homework. But when his computer breaks down, he is desperate. His mother takes him up to the attic to discover her old typewriter. A “what-writer”? asks Pablo, mystified. When his mother shows him how to strike the keys just so, and the words start to appear on paper, Pablo is delighted. And imagine his triumph when he presents his homework at school, amazing his teacher and all his friends with the story of the mechanical marvel that saved the day.

A lovely, full-circle kind of story, related in bouncy writing characterized by gently percussive onomatopoeia, with expressive, appropriately retro illustrations…it’s heartening to see via the illustrations that the story involves a multiracial family. —Kirkus

Just as an out-of-date but functional phone booth proved its worth in Ackerman and Dalton’s The Lonely Phone Booth, a typewriter, gathering dust in the attic, comes to the rescue when a family’s computer conks out. Ackerman’s story takes a while to get rolling as he traces the typewriter’s lineage (“Its owner, a young woman named Pearl, used it to type pamphlets for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”) and introduces a boy named Pablo (Pearl’s grandson) and his mixed-race family. Dalton’s illustrations feature simple, flattened shapes that feel in keeping with the old-meets-new vibe, and the story unfolds in typewritten-looking text, appropriately enough. —Publishers Weekly

“The Lonely Typewriter” is directed at children ages 6 to 9, but it’s quite possible their parents — or grandparents — will be the ones to linger over its pages. The first illustration in the book is a beautiful diagram of a manual typewriter. —The LA Times

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. —Through the Looking Glass Children’s Reviews

Peter Ackerman has made two books with Max Dalton. Their first book, The Lonely Phone Booth, was selected for the Smithsonian's 2010 Notable Books for Children and adapted and produced as a musical at the Manhattan Children's Theater. Peter co-wrote the movies Ice Age and Ice Age 3.

Max Dalton lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has been drawing since he was two or three years old. Max has too many interests to list here – from writing to painting to playing music and reading about animals – but his all-time favorite is drawing.