By: Jackson Pearce

Published: January 16, 2018

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens


Ellie is a smart, young girl who likes “boy stuff” and “girl stuff”. She likes to build and create things, play soccer, get dirty, wear pretty skirts (with her tool belt, of course), and have tea parties with her best friend, Kit. Ellie has a notebook where she keeps track of all her projects including the water balloon launcher (which was a hit) and the French Braider (which was not a hit). Ellie likes to draw out her ideas first in her notepad and use materials found in her workshop or parents’ garage (of course, always getting permission first). Her workshop is part of her swingset and holds all her favorite tools.

Ellie and Kit are excited about Kit’s upcoming birthday tea party when they overhear (thanks to one of Ellie’s contraptions) about Kit’s present. That gives Ellie the perfect gift idea. But, she isn’t sure she can pull it off by herself and keep it a secret from Kit at the same time. She enlists some help from some friends but the secrets get to be too much and instead of having fun, everyone gets mad. The day of the party arrives and Ellie decides to ask for everyone’s forgiveness and to pitch in to finish the project.

I absolutely love this creative and fun story of Ellie and her friends. She is a bright girl with lots of ideas and will be inspiring to girls to create their own ideas. She teaches that it is ok to be friends with boys and girls and like all kinds of things. There are drawing in the book of Ellie’s ideas and both in the beginning stages and finished. Ellie has some misses and that is important for kids to realize it is okay to make mistakes and keep trying.

This chapter book is the perfect level for middle-grade readers. There are lots of little problems to solve and silly things that happen to keep kids interested. There are also friendship dilemmas that offer lessons for kids when dealing with their own issues. I think Pearce has created a wonderful concept for a series and it is one I could see girls and boys enjoying!

Jackson Pearce – source

Jackson Pearce lives in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the author of a series of teen retold fairy-tales as well as two stand-alone books. Pearce also writes under the name J. Nelle Patrick and has co-written books with Maggie Stiefvater. In an interview, Pearce states she was very much like Ellie in the book as a kid thanks to the encouragement of her father.  Growing up, Pearce loved dance and sparkles and fairytales but also building and engineering and lizards. She hopes her book and STEM learning, in general, inspires girls and boys to like whatever it is they like – and throw out that notion that there is “boy stuff” and “girl stuff”. The second book in the ELLIE, ENGINEER series will come out later this year with online shorts available on her website in the near future. For more info, check out her website, HERE.

To purchase a copy of ELLIE, ENGINEER, click the photo below:

I will be linking up this review on Booking Mama’s regular Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. This is a place for bloggers to share posts related to children’s and YA books. You will find spotlights, reviews, and sometimes even giveaways by clicking HERE, every Saturday.

Thanks to the publisher for sending this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase the book through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. 

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  1. bermudaonion on February 17, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    There weren't books with female characters like this when I was young. I'm so glad to know they're out there now.

  2. kidlit on December 5, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    I like the strong female character in this book, and was so excited to try this out as a read aloud for my engineering unit. However, I did not appreciate the way the boys and girls were depicted and how they didn’t like to play with each other, especially when they called each other names. I felt the other girls in the story who were not “engineer oriented” like Ellie were put down and stereotyped (beauty pageant participant for example).
    Jackson had a great concept – and I enjoyed the engineering sketches and ideas, but I felt the story was a bit contrived. Admittedly, I’m very particular when choosing a read aloud for my students and want it to contain a beautiful use of language. I could recommend this as a student read – although I’d like to have a discussion about kids as young as 3rd grade using power tools!

    • Stacie on December 5, 2018 at 9:24 pm

      I hadn’t thought of some of those points, but those are valid points to this book. I think the next book in the series is out, but I haven’t read it yet. I’m curious how that one is. Thanks for commenting!

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