Ellie is a tool belt wielding girl who is always planning her next project. She’s an engineer in the making and a great one, too. That career choice will for sure come later. For now Ellie wants to build a dog house for a best friend who’s positive a new furry canine will arrive on her birthday.

While Ellie sports a drill, the boy she befriends has a liking for tea parties. How’s that for a much needed role reversal? Filled with gender confrontations and misunderstandings, the story charms its way to a surprising conclusion. There are plenty of lessons learned about lying and stereotypes. Girls though will probably flock to this one more than boys, but even our young male friends could learn something if they take a look.

This would make a great series for younger MG readers.


From BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING: Ellie is an engineer. With a tool belt strapped over her favorite skirt (who says you can’t wear a dress and have two kinds of screwdrivers handy, just in case?), she invents and builds amazing creations in her backyard workshop. Together with her best friend Kit, Ellie can make anything. As Kit’s birthday nears, Ellie doesn’t know what gift to make until the girls overhear Kit’s mom talking about her present–the dog Kit always wanted! Ellie plans to make an amazing doghouse, but her plans grow so elaborate that she has to enlist help from the neighbor boys and crafty girls, even though the two groups don’t get along. Will Ellie be able to pull off her biggest project yet, all while keeping a secret from Kit?

Illustrated with Ellie’s sketches and plans, and including backmatter with a fun how-to guide to tools, this is a STEM- and friendship-powered story full of fun!


  1. It’s okay for boys to do ‘girl’ stuff sometimes and vice versa. A perfect message for this new generation of readers.
  2. STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) is a popular acronym in education circles. It is books like this one that can increase the percentage of girls entering those careers.
  3. Ellie is a strong, persistent female character that is much needed in books these days.
  4. Not all of Ellie’s projects turn out winners, i.e. an automatic hair braiding device. Mistakes are fine as long as you don’t hurt someone.
  5. Black and white images detailing Ellie’s projects are scattered throughout. They’re like a window to the mind of a future architect or engineer.


Ellie’s fingers got jittery, which happened a lot when she was getting an idea for a new project—it was like her fingers were just as excited as her heart.

Jackson Pearce currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with a slightly cross-eyed cat and a lot of secondhand furniture. She auditioned for the circus once, but didn’t make it; other jobs she’s had include obituaries writer, biker bar waitress, and receptionist.
Jackson began writing when she got angry that the school librarian couldn’t tell her of a book that contained a smart girl, horses, baby animals, and magic. Her solution was to write the book herself when she was twelve. Her parents thought it was cute at first, but have grown steadily more concerned for her ever since. For more visit her online.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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4 Responses to ELLIE, ENGINEER

  1. Sounds like a great story, especially with all the push to get girls and boys more interested in science. And it’s good for younger kids given the book’s shorter length.

  2. I would have loved this story as a girl because I liked to build things. It’s great to see stories that encourage girls and boys to follow their interests, whatever they may be. And, it encourages teamwork!

  3. Andrea Mack says:

    I’m reading that one at the moment — such a cute book!

  4. What an interesting novel! I love that so many new books are coming out that mix up traditional gender roles and let people do whatever they enjoy! Thanks so much for the review!

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