Review Blog

Jan 16 2019

Ellie Engineer - The next level by Jackson Pearce

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN: 9781547601097
(Age: 7-9) Themes: Engineering, Friends. Ellie is an enthusiastic engineer; she wears her tool belt all the time and loves to solve problems and come up with creative solutions. She draws up the plans, finds innovative resources to use and enjoys sharing her ideas with her friends, Kit and Toby. Ellie's first attempt at building an elevator with a pulley and ropes unfortunately ended in disaster. With 24 bread and butter pickle jars balanced on a tabletop, they tried to pull them up to the treehouse when the tabletop slipped and pickles, juice and shattered glass fell on the back lawn.
Ellie's parents decide she needs to help Mrs Curran, their elderly neighbour, as a penalty for the pickle incident. Ellie proudly wears her toolbelt expecting to do engineering jobs for Mrs Curran, however on the first day she spends two hours putting invoices into envelopes. As the week progresses Ellie uses her skills to mend some broken cupboards, build a dolly to transport doll-making supplies and create another elevator to take the supplies upstairs. Mrs Curran has old-fashioned ideas assuming that only boys can be engineers and only girls play with dolls. She gives Toby credit for all the engineering projects and doesn't reward him with a doll like Ellie and Kit are given for their work. Can Ellie help their elderly neighbour when she needs it most and will Ellie's engineering skills make a difference?
Jackson Pearce's Ellie Engineer - The Next Level is a delightful, funny, illustrated junior novel filled with creative, STEM-powered projects. There are sketches of Ellie's designs, examples of pulleys, levers, wheels and axles and the forces needed to build them. Without being didactic, the story looks at stereotyping, not making assumptions and valuing each other's abilities and interests.
This series is just right for a class novel for Years 2-3 introducing engineering concepts and encouraging young engineers to design their own projects.
Rhyllis Bignell

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