Engibear's Dream - Andrew King, Benjamin Johnston

A story about perseverance for budding--or flourishing--engineers, both big and small. Engibear sets out to create a "Bearbot" to help him get his work done. The book counts through the various prototypes and why each doesn't work until the engineer finally is successful with Bearbot Type Ten. Benjamin Johnston's illustrations feature design schematics, diagrams, blueprints, and colorful workshop scenes that children will delight in looking at again and again.

 

In fact, it's the illustrations that pulled me to the book (I'd seen some of Benjamin Johnston's portfolio images online somewhere and remembered them) and they give it a five star ranking (reserved only for books that I would like to have as part of my permanent collection).  The images are gorgeous combinations of science, comedy, and explosions with a touch of graphic novel mixed in.  Their complexity is what gives repeat readers a new experience again and again. Just the end pages could require a half hour of pursuing to see all the details. 

 

Cathy, guest reviewer at Children's Books Daily, says about reading the book with her 5 year old son, "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 a book that has the ability to grow, with different ages pulling different information and messages from it.  And it has a sequel!  How awesome is that?  (Cathy's review also links to an interesting interview with the author, so follow the tangent, it's fun to see photos of the original inspiration.)