Hubert Invents the Wheel
Claire Montgomery, Monte Montgomery
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Is Hubert on a roll, or is his invention spinning toward disaster?
Hubert loves to think, and not only does that distinguish him from his father, Gorp, and everyone else in ancient Sumeria, but it leads to the greatest invention of all time―the wheel. It takes a while for his neighbors to see the wheel as a major technological advancement rather than a newfangled coffee-table top, but eventually they do, and life is great.
Well, life is great until the Sumerians' archenemies, the Assyrians, find out about the wheel and use it to plan their destruction. Now the question is not whether Hubert's invention is ahead of its time, but whether he should have stuck to designing living room furniture instead of causing civilization's demise.
Hilarious and profound, Hubert's adventure brings the ancient world to life.
kid. How's your old man doing with his heavy-duty cutie?" "He likes it." "Glad to hear it. What's that you're holding there?" "Hubert says he came up with something that makes sledges move faster." "Oh, you have, have you?" Al said. "Let's take a look." Hubert was in no mood to give a demonstration, but he didn't want to be rude. He reattached a wheel to each end of the axle and handed it to the diminutive dealer. "This is just a prototype, of course." "That's a big word for
life better. But what Hubert liked best about technology was the way it made him feel. Creating something that did what it was supposed to do gave Hubert the kind of thrill that an athlete gets when she sets a world record or a violinist gets when he receives a standing ovation at Carnegie Hall. "And now for the trial run," Hubert said, eyes sparkling in anticipation. "Hey, Spike," he called across the room, "you want something tasty?" Spike, Hubert's hyperactive green lizard, peered
he could get them pointed in the same direction? Even if it were only temporary, it would be a start. But how? He turned the problem around and around in his head, and around and around and around and around until— "I have an idea!" Hopping down from the wall, he seized the nearest long, straight object: the crutch of the man whose wife had run over him. Luckily, she managed to steady her husband before he fell on his nose. Hubert started sketching excitedly in the dirt with the crutch,
away, most of the land around Ur was desert, and growing crops was an iffy proposition at best. The little spring-fed well behind Hubert and Gorp's house provided just enough fresh water for drinking, cooking, and their monthly bath. Every day, Hubert had to climb 77 steps to the well, fill a bucket, lug it down 77 steps to the house, and pour it into the cistern in the kitchen. Filling the cistern took thirteen trips. That's 2,002 steps, a number that Hubert knew as well as his own age.
helpless city of Ur and thousands of people whose lives and futures depended on what happened next. "I do," he said. "Right," said Queen Eridu. "Does anyone else have an idea?" Ajax raised his hand. "I've got one. Why don't we pile up all the Sumerians against the dam, and the rest of us can get out of here while there's still time?" "I've got a better one," Salvo said. "Why don't you wrap that big mouth of yours around that big wheel you made . . . and swallow it?" Ajax made a