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Ellie, Engineer Hardcover – January 16, 2018
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From School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—A charming book featuring an engineer who makes mistakes when navigating the roads of friendship. Ellie Bell decides to build a doghouse for her best friend Kit's birthday with the help of her neighbor Toby. When she also gets help from three neighborhood girls who don't like boys, (including Toby), she begins to lie to keep from making anyone angry. At the same time, her friendship with Kit starts to suffer because she is keeping the doghouse a surprise. In the end, Ellie finds a way to bridge the gap between the boys and the girls while saving her best friendship. The book touches on gender bias by showing that activities should not be categorized as "boy things" or "girl things." Girls can like engineering and soccer while boys can like tea parties. Pencil illustrations of Ellie's sketches and designs are included throughout the book. The end contains a guide to Ellie's favorite tools. In addition to spotlighting engineering, the narrative contains strong themes of friendship and working together toward a common goal. VERDICT A solid addition to chapter book collections.—V. Lynn Christiansen, Wiley International Studies Magnet Elementary School, Raleigh, NC
"Charming. . . . In addition to spotlighting engineering, the narrative contains strong themes of friendship and working together toward a common goal." - School Library Journal
"Ellie’s easily relatable as an everyday kid . . . Aspiring inventors will appreciate the descriptions and black and white sketches of Ellie’s various creations, so be sure to make some room in the makerspace for Ellie’s new fans." - BCCB
"Pearce emphasizes Ellie’s persistence and individuality. . . . Mourning’s notebook-style images help give a sense of how Ellie’s brain works." - Publishers Weekly
"Explicitly rejects the idea that activities and objects are gendered (e.g., boys and girls can both like engineering and tea parties). The twist ending is not what most readers will expect. A spirited, duplicable depiction of STEM fun." - Kirkus Reviews
"An entertaining and memorable story. . . Pearce sets the stage for what could easily become a favorite series." - Publishers Weekly on THE DOUBLECROSS
"Oddball characters with plenty of heart and nifty gadgets will draw in readers who appreciate humorous underdog stories." - Booklist on THE DOUBLECROSS
"A fun-filled adventure from start to finish." - Booklist on THE INSIDE JOB
"This sequel will continue to thrill fans of the series. Wacky and action-packed." - Kirkus Reviews on THE INSIDE JOB
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I predict that Ellie, Engineer will inspire a generation of tool-carrying, invention-drawing kids in the same way that Harriet the Spy inspired note-scribbling, sneaking kids in my generation. Readers will root for Ellie as she designs solutions to problems and gets herself out of scrapes. Themes include questioning gender roles, friendship, and inventiveness. For teachers looking for strong girls and STEM connections, you'll find them in this delightful new series.
Ellie, Engineer is the first of Jackson Pearce's books I've read, but I'm now inspired to look for more. You can bet I'll be waiting expectantly for the next book in the Ellie, Engineer series to come out.
What a fun book! The book starts with a boys vs girls issue that Ellie solves by inventing a giant water balloon launcher, but as the book progresses, Ellie learns that we can't and shouldn't always divide things by gender. One area where Ellie is sure that gender doesn't matter is engineering and it is her biggest passion.
I really liked that there were a wide variety of characters in this book. This book does a great job as an enticement for young girls to consider engineering. She is always thinking outside of the box and problem solving and is good at thinking quickly on her feet. As we continue to encourage more and more kids to embrace STEM, books like this are a wonderful addition to their arsenal.
I also love that gender roles are seen as problematic in this book. The girls had been left out of the soccer game in the beginning of the book, even though Ellie is apparently a better goalie than the Dylan. Kit didn't invite any boys to her birthday party because it was a tea party, but Toby loves tea and the idea of a fancy party. In the end, all of the kids learn that working together gets great results.
This is a great addition for grades 2-5.
Ellie Engineer is a wonderful story about friendship and being yourself. It also covers the changes in friend groups and friendship dynamics in those in between years when boys and girls tend to separate. Ellie and Kit are different, but they are still best friends with a love of building. When things are not going according to plan Ellie needs to adjust, and keeping her doghouse a secret from Kit- and getting help from those she does not ordinarily spend time with during the summer, leads to a series of problems. I liked Ellie's flexibility ith her projects, and how she gets things done, and I sympathized with her attempts to keep everyone happy, when she should have just been honest with everyone from the beginning. I think young readers will relate to at least one character in the story, even if it is not Ellie. Some might connect with Kit feeling left out, or those helping Ellie but being kept a secret from each other. I love that the book includes information about the tools Ellie uses in the story, and those that readers might get access to, and permission to use. The how-tos and information just might get readers making their own inventions, and testing or repairing gadgets of their own.
Ellie Engineer is a fun middle grade read that encourages friendship and ingenuity outside the normal limits most kids feel constrained by. I found the emotion and social queues to be on point, and I loved the message of the story.