Author: Jackson Pearce
Genre: realistic fiction
Similar books: Secret Coders series by Gene Luen Yang
The Amazing Crafty Cat by Charise Mericle Harper
|way to go, Pearce|
Summary (provided by publisher): 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!
My opinion: This is a book with a clear agenda, but it's one I can fully support. It's a book about engineering, as one might imagine. We see Ellie's full process, from concept to design, to the actual construction and accompanying troubleshooting. More important is the depiction of gender roles. Ellie loves to build things. She also loves pink, dresses, ballet, and glitter body wash. She can be an engineer and still be traditionally girly. Kit, on the other hand, love all things feminine. She doesn't like to be dirty and participates in beauty pageants. Neither is depicted as "right". We meet a neighborhood boy who loves bugs, soccer, pretty much all things traditionally masculine, but also adores tea parties. All of this along with messages about friendship, secrets, and control. A solid story for young readers.
Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley