In 1818, seven-year-old Elisha was fascinated by farm machinery. As a young man, he tried a variety of ways to make a living, but nothing fired his imagination more than the job he found in a bed-frame factory. Soon he invented a machine that made frames four times faster than ever before. In 1852, while overseeing the construction of a new factory, he had to find a way to move heavy machinery to the second floor. He didn't trust the hoisting platform, so he invented a safety brake. It was so successful that rather than lift machine parts, Elisha decided to build "people-hoisting machines." In 1857, Elisha Otis installed his first successful passenger elevator in a five-storey department store in New York City. Before Elisha's invention, buildings were never higher than six stories. At last it was possible to build skyscrapers!
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, MONICA KULLING is a poet who has published many books for children, including picture books, adaptations of classic novels, and biographies. Known for introducing biography to children who are just learning to read, she has written about Harriet Tubman, Houdini, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Amelia Earhart, among others. Her book It's a Snap! George Eastman's First Photograph, illustrated by Bill Slavin, was the first in Tundra's Great Idea Series, followed by All Aboard! Elijah McCoy's Steam Engine and In the Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps It Up. Monica Kulling is also the author of the hilarious Merci Mister Dash!
Award-winning artist DAVID PARKINS has illustrated more than fifty books for children. He began his career at Dyfed College of Art in Wales, where he studied wildlife illustration. From there, he attended the Lincoln College of Art.
“… In his realistic, fine-lined illustrations, Parkins … captures the narrative’s broad, high-energy tone in images of the inventor with eyes bulging, mouth wide open and arms flung out wildly during various Eureka! moments….”
“Kulling gives lesser-known inventor Elisha Otis a lift in this latest entry into the Great Idea series…. [T]his picture-book biography gives a lively account of Otis’ world-changing invention. Caricatured expressions set against detailed backdrops add playfulness to the informative text.”