Ellie, Engineer Hardcover – January 16, 2018
by Jackson Pearce
Series: Ellie, Engineer (book 1)
192 pages – ages 8-12
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on January 16, 2018
Publisher’s synopsis: Ellie is an engineer. With a tool belt strapped over her favorite skirt (who says you can’t wear a dress and have two kinds of screwdrivers handy, just in case?), she invents and builds amazing creations in her backyard workshop. Together with her best friend Kit, Ellie can make anything. As Kit’s birthday nears, Ellie doesn’t know what gift to make until the girls overhear Kit’s mom talking about her present–the dog Kit always wanted! Ellie plans to make an amazing doghouse, but her plans grow so elaborate that she has to enlist help from the neighbor boys and crafty girls, even though the two groups don’t get along. Will Ellie be able to pull off her biggest project yet, all while keeping a secret from Kit?
Illustrated with Ellie’s sketches and plans, and including backmatter with a fun how-to guide to tools, this is a STEM- and friendship-powered story full of fun!
What I Thought: Pearce’s Ellie, Engineer is a great start to this series. Ellie shows us that you can like anything you want to. She is friends with a girl (Kit) whose mother doesn’t like her to get dirty and thinks Ellie is a bad influence on her. Ellie wears skirts and tool belts. She’s not really a “Tomboy” – she’s just herself and I really like that. Ellie likes building things so she considers herself an engineer. It is nice that Pearce includes some failures and redesigning in Ellie’s creations because that reflects the real Engineering Design process. The book starts out as kind of a boy vs. girl thing but we quickly see both sexes working together towards a common cause, building a dog house for Ellie’s best friend who is getting a dog for her birthday. It’s a nice story that reinforces the fact that there really aren’t “boy things” and “girl things” but just different interests depending on the person – not their gender.I really liked the black and white sketches sprinkled throughout the book. They showed Ellie’s designs and inventions.
The story flows nicely and the drama between the characters is typical for their ages and rings true. I really enjoyed the twist and the hint of the next book at the end of the story. It is a quick read and is perfect for young advanced readers as well as the intended age range of 8-12. With the emphasis on STEM learning in schools today, I can see Ellie becoming a favorite character.
Five out of five bookworms for Ellie, Engineer!
Thank you to @bloomsburypublishing for providing me with a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.