Mr. King's Machine is a picturebook by Geneviève Côté which is currently scheduled for release on April 1 2016. When Mr. King the cat discovers that one of the pretty flowers near his home has been chewed by a caterpillar, he is not happy. He builds himself a Caterpillar-Catcher to track down the culprit who did it. Mr. King doesn't notice that the Caterpillar-Catcher is spewing nasty smoke into the air and knocking down the other pretty flowers in his path. Now it's his animal friends who are not happy. Will Mr. King be able to turn things around so everyone will be happy again?
Mr. King's Machine is a book with bight illustrations, and a multi layered lesson. Readers see that their actions can have unintended consequences, that we all need to take care of the environment, and that sometimes taking the time to talk about a problem and brain storm solutions is well worth the extra time and effort. Mr. King is a cat with a love of beautiful things an nature being orderly. When a lunching caterpillar nibbles on a flower Mr. King is a little overly upset. In an over reaction that most kids can relate to, because most of us overreact (at least internally) over things daily, he builds a machine intended to help him discover and get rid of the caterpillar in question. Unfortunately his machine causes more damage that it could have stopped. I like there there is discussion of why caterpillars and other creatures are important, and how nature is a very interdependent. I liked the book, but found it to be a little heavy handed and while valuable in certain classroom or home lessons not something that was going to be a new favorite.
Mr. King's Machine is a good book for starting or carrying on discussions on how interconnected nature is, or how actions can have unforeseen consequences. It could also be used as a starter for a nature project in class, like seed planting or watching caterpillars become butterflies. This is the third book (but the first I have read) in Geneviève Côté's picture book series about a crown-wearing cat who always needs a little help from his friends to learn important environmental lessons.