Ellie, Engineer: The Next Level

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Ellie, Engineer: The Next Level Book Poster Image
STEM-loving kids break down stereotypes in fun, funny book.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

STEM is everywhere, with Ellie's illustrations explaining engineering principles, the kids always looking for opportunities to build. Plenty of life lessons about dealing with disappointment and others' expectations, how to make the best of situations that aren't ideal.

Positive Messages

Ellie and her friends use their skills to improve lives, and when they make mistakes, they're held accountable. There are sincere apologies, and consequences are focused on positive action, not punishment. Underlying premise -- that engineering is supposed to help people -- is repeated often. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The kids' parents are supportive, helpful, want the kids to be true to themselves. Ellie's parents ask questions to help her figure out how to get Mrs. Curran to understand the kids' abilities and her own.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jackson Pearce's Ellie, Engineer: The Next Level addresses the gender stereotypes both girls and boys often are aware of while they're playing, reading, exploring, and figuring out who they are. There's a sincere effort to change an adult's assumption about kids, but also the kids' assumption about an adult. Ellie and her friends approach the problem with kindness and make plans for building some super-cool, totally useful contraptions. They're baffled by the idea that their gender dictates their interests. Packed with engineering principles, including the idea that what engineers build should improve lives, the story helps young readers see that STEM is for everyone -- and each person can approach that interest in his or her own way. The writing and structure of the book is better for younger readers but will resonate with older or more advanced readers as well.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

Continuing the STEM-focused story of Ellie, Engineer: Book 1, at the start of ELLIE ENGINEER: THE NEXT LEVEL, young Ellie and her friends Toby and Kit try to build an elevator for their tree house. But an incident with pulleys and some special-order pickles in glass jars turns to disaster. As punishment, Ellie's parents have her help an elderly neighbor with chores and small tasks around the house. Toby and Kit join her, and the friends soon find ways to use their engineering skills to fix and build things around Mrs. Curran's house. But Ellie is frustrated when Mrs. Curran gives all the credit for the engineering work to Toby because he's the boy, even though the ideas were Ellie's and she was the only one who showed up wearing a tool belt. The friends decide to find a way to set Mrs. Curran straight about a female engineer's abilities, and maybe show her that anyone, at any age, can be an engineer.

Is it any good?

Kids break gender stereotypes in multiple ways in this fun, STEM-friendly book. Not only does Ellie show off her skills as an engineer, but Toby proudly plays with dolls. Helpfulness and kindness are the running themes in Ellie, Engineer: The Next Level, and it's fun to see the kids figure out how to build something useful and exciting with everyday supplies. Shovels, pans, old bike wheels, and other things they find turn into pulleys and elevators and more, all based on Ellie's designs trying to solve a particular problem. Ellie's parents are a good sounding board for her while she figures out how to improve her builds and improve situations she doesn't like -- and they share her sense of humor, which makes the book even more fun for young readers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the assumptions about girls and boys that Mrs. Curran has in Ellie, Engineer: The Next Level. Why do they bother the kids so much? Has anyone assumed something about you based on a stereotype?

  • Did the kids' assumptions about Mrs. Curran change the way the kids treat her or think about her?

  • What other good STEM books have you read or STEM websites have you visited?

  • How would you improve some of the machines Ellie illustrates in this book?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love math and science

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate