Review of ‘Engibear’s Dream’

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Review of ‘Engibear’s Dream’

Written by Andrew King and illustrated by Benjamin Johnston

Website: http://www.engibear.com/

Publisher: Little Steps Publishing

Age Range: Early Childhood – Lower Primary (+ adult engineers!)

Themes: maths, engineering, dreams, perseverance, robots

When ‘Engibear’s Dream’ landed on my desk it took my about two seconds to decide that this book had to put in the hands of a certain five year old I know. I enjoy hearing snippets of his engineering focused language and play from his mum, Cathy. I just love that we see glimpses of future engineers, botanists, actors, teachers and even librarians in young children. There are a plethora of books for young ones which are occupation focused  but until now I’d never come across an engineering one. Cathy has kindly reviewed ‘Engibear’s Dream’ for us. Thank you Cathy!

engibear-s-dream

To add this book to your home, school or library collection click here.

I little realised it when he was born five years ago, but I managed to give birth to a fully formed engineer. As someone who is yet to figure out what she really wants to be when she grows up, I rejoice in the fact that my son won’t have to trudge despairingly around careers expos like his mother. We all know who he is, it was clear even before he said “tuned mass damper” for the first time.

His interest in all things engineer-y has, however, caused me no small amount of alarm. I take my role as one of his principal teachers in life very seriously – but my education in language and literature and history hasn’t really equipped me for the job of raising a child who wants to build tunnel boring machines. What to do?

Fortunately there are some fantastic books around for the young engineer (and their mums) and Engibear’s Dream is one of them.

We have all dreamed of having a robot helper around the house; and Engibear is no different. A clever engineer with a house full of machines and tools, he designs and builds a porridge-powered ‘Bearbot’ to help him work on his projects. As with any project, the first prototypes require a bit of tinkering…

Dr Andrew King uses his background in chemical and environmental engineering to at once educate and entertain.  You can read more about Andrew King in this ‘Book People’ post. illustrations by Benjamin Johnston contain detailed plans of Engibear’s project. Diagrams of Bearbot’s suspension and internal combustion engine provide great incidental learning for the young engineer and are a useful cheat sheet if their parents need some *ahem* help explaining the concepts.

How many books about machines for kids are little more than a photo and a label?! Engibear’s story (That’s right, it actually has one!) incorporates rhythm and rhyme so important for young engineer’s language development.

While the vocabulary in the story is appropriately simple, the diagrams provide more of a challenge to the young engineer. We read that Bearbot’s legs are made of “carbon-fibre segmented flexible cable with internal stabilisers “. There’s no way that the junior engineer understands this, but they are the kind of words that are sheer pleasure to roll around in his mouth. They will inevitably be incorporated into the next Lego project. Then one day he may even figure out what they mean. This is how engineers are grown.

I liked the underlying moral that hard work and persistence pay off. The principal attraction for the junior engineer however was the fact that there are no less than 9 crashes and explosions. I am hoping the moral will sink in subliminally.

I would love to see more of Engibear. Could he visit CERN? Or the Gotthard Base tunnel? I have a five year old who needs to know.

To add this book to your home, school or library collection click here.

engibear

 

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2 Comments

  1. Allison Tait on Aug 3, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    This looks fabulous! I can think of someone who would love this!

  2. Maxabella on Aug 8, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Sweet illustrations too. x

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