Meg stands out as a brilliant boxitect—until Simone comes along.
Meg makes all sorts of things out of boxes: “tiny houses, tall towers, twisty tunnels,” and inventions no one else had seen before. When Meg goes to Maker School, she finds “blanketeers, spaghetti-tects, tin-foilers, and egg-cartoners,” but as the first boxitect in class, she feels special. But then Simone comes along. She’s brilliant and creative like Meg—and a boxitect, just like Meg. Instead of hitting it off, the two are immediate rivals, trading snide remarks and criticizing each other’s work. When the school competition rolls around and students have to work in teams, the boxitect team is the one that is not going smoothly. Meg and Simone split up the materials and compete with each other to make the better half. But when their infighting proves disastrous, the pair quickly learns to work together, gaining skills and friendship. The story arc contains just enough suspense to keep readers interested, and the humorous text is engaging. Smith’s cartoon illustrations are a combination of double-page spreads, full-page scenes, and smaller vignettes that use a variety of shapes, patterns, and contrasting colors for a lively and creative maker’s world. Meg’s brown skin and puffy hair and Simone’s Asian presentation put this in the growing and necessary category of picture books that feature modern diverse characters doing everyday things.
Personality and a developmental message successfully combine for STEAM fun. (Picture book. 3-8)