Parents' Guide to

Ellie, Engineer, Book 1

By Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Girl solves boys-vs.-girls dispute in smart series start.

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In her bright new series start, author Jackson Pearce presents a simple yet effective overview of how to systematically engineer solutions, from what to build to how to work together. The girls and boys here defy conventions: Ellie loves getting her hands dirty, Kit enjoys being in beauty pageants, and Toby likes both tea parties and drawing butts. Ellie, Engineer showcases a strong girl who frets about "jerk boys" but makes a strong case for dumping assumptions about what girls and boys do and don't like. Ellie's enthusiasm and initiative sometimes get her into trouble, but she's always learning -- and her heart's in the right place.

Tuesday Mourning's illustrations of the plans Ellie and her friends come up with make the idea of sketching out builds approachable. Ellie's projects are less far-fetched than the inventions in many books featuring precocious young builders, which helps make engineering principles very accessible. And an engaging heroine with appealing friends makes the whole package plenty of fun.

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