Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Children’s Book Review, Ellie, Engineer: The Next Level

by Susan Stephenson,

Ellie, Engineer: The Next Level is a junior novel by Jackson Pearce, published by Bloomsbury (2018.)

From the publisher:

After Ellie's first elevator build goes terribly wrong, her parents decide her "punishment" is to assist an elderly neighbor, Mrs. Curran, around the house. Ellie and her friends Kit and Toby are really only supposed to help with little things, but Ellie can't turn down the opportunity to use her engineering skills here and there where she sees a need--because that's what engineers do! It's no fun, though, when Mrs. Curran always gives Toby the credit for all the ingenious projects, and acts like Kit and Ellie were just helping him. . . . Can Ellie come up with another great build to elevate Mrs. Curran's ideas about this girl engineer?

This is a light-hearted romp with a strong female heroine who loves to invent things. It’s a follow-up to Ellie, Engineer, also published by Bloomsbury, but there is no real need for children to have read that book first. The humour is perfectly pitched at children of the target age - I think kids about 7+ would love it. I very much appreciated how “real” the children seemed, even though their adventures tend toward wacky and wonderful! Problem solving is woven naturally through the story, allowing kids to gain an understanding of how to apply what they learn at school in their own lives.

Ellie, Engineer: The Next Level would be a fine choice for a class read-aloud prior to starting a unit on Simple Machines, and there’s a child-friendly explanation about them in back of the book. Kids will enjoy the sketches depicting Ellie’s actual designs. I hope both boy and girl readers will be inspired to learn more science, and even aspire to a career in engineering.

Find more Children's Book Reviews on The Book Chook by clicking Reviews in the right sidebar. You might also be interested in my articles, Activities for Maker Ed and Resources for Maker Ed.

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