I'm looking for a children's book I had as a kid in the late '80s or early '90s (and am fairly certain it was new at that time). I live in Canada, but I can't say if it's a Canadian book or not; though it was in English, and am fairly sure it wasn't a translation. I'd say it was about 25-30 pages long, and had full-page cartoony pictures with small amounts of text. I can't remember if the text was poetry or prose; it may have varied from page to page.
Each page spotlighted on one or several related "curious machines" which varied from toys, to industrial machinery, to robotic beings. Each machine was quirky and ridiculous in some way, and were spoken of as if they were sentient to some degree. Examples I can remember include:
- The Mud Puddler and the Pud Muddler: a machine that loved to make mud, and another that despised mud due to it having so many feet. While the story seemed to suggest the machines were sentient, at least one of them had a human operator. This feud between the two was stopped by a sort of police robot, which looked a bit like a robot duck with a saddle.
- The Click-Clacker: Looking like a cross between a yellow rubber duck and a c-clamp, this machine mass produced small duck-shaped toys that made a click-clack noise when a button on its head was squeezed. Careful (human) quality assurance methods were in place to make sure this click-clacking was satisfactory. The page also had an old photo of its inventor, who wore a helmet resembling the clackers.
- Some sort of machine that produces a pinkish foam or taffy.
- A large orange harvesting and juicing machine. Similar to a backhoe, it had a little driver's canopy on the top, with a parasol for shade. It had a spigot on the back which the farmer/operator was using to fill a glass of juice.
- The E-Eater: A dark green helicopter-like robot with a grinning mouth that was obsessed with eating the letter E from billboards and other signage. This one I found especially interesting as a kid, as it suggested it was some sort of rogue machine causing mischief, whereas most of the others seemed to have some useful - if wacky - purpose. I believe this was the last entry in the book.