1926 · Garden City, New York
With 62 pages; text and illustrations in sharp primary colors on facing pages tell the story of a little boy robot who grew up out of pieces of a wrecked steam engine, an old trolley car and a broken automobile. He has constructed himself out of the wreckage of technology: drill, saws, wheel, pliers, chisel, hammers, etc.Higonnet, Margaret, "Modernism and Childhood: Violence and Renovation" in The Comparatist, Volume 33 (May 2009), University of North Carolina Press. discusses the brilliantly experimental design of three Modernist children's books: El Lissitzky, Suprematist Story of Two Squares, l922; Kurt Schwitters, Die Scheuche (The Scarecrow), 1925; and Mary Liddell, Little Machinery, 1926. "(Liddell's) text plays with punning fonts, typographic layout, a linear frame through which her protagonist's energies pass, and explosive interactions between text and images that seem inspired by Lissitzky's experiments with visual codes for force…. Energetic diagonals invoke the speed and energy of (the boy's) work, while images of his materials spill laterally from one page to the next, into the text. Electric sparks speed across the page in jagged lines, and zigzag cuts by Little Machinery's hyperactive saw run across the gutter into the text. Typography and images are tightly interconnected. Letters are composed of nails, assimilating the work of writing to the work of building… In spite of their stylistic differences, and in spite of conspicuously distinct politics, each of these books exploits the visual energy of layout on the page to support an idealizing message centered on the utopian child."
A copy is held at Princeton, Cotsen Library 21251 (Inventory #: 9022)