Motivated by the possibility of winning a prize, a second grade gadgeteer gets to work.
No sooner does young inventor Geraldine hear that there will be a prize for Best Second Grade Scientist in an unlikely classroom “science contest” than she races home to the boxes of random parts she’s extracted from various household appliances in the course of earlier tinkering. She proceeds to construct binoculars—using, somehow, old eyeglasses, “lenses” from a camera, cardboard tubes, and a mirror—that “will make it possible to see Mars from Earth!” (Um…should someone tell her she already can?) The illustrations depict Geraldine’s jumbled supplies as what looks like piles of dirt with the occasional electric plug or bottle sticking out, and most of her supposed inventions as visibly unworkable. Come the day, her contraption inexplicably stuns her classmates, winning out over a fishbowl ecosystem and a remote-controlled orrery (!), so (claims the narrator) proving to the class that she isn’t just a “mischievous daydreamer” but “a scientist!” (A false dichotomy if ever there was one.) Look for more credible STEM-centric role models (with worthier motives) in Andrea Beaty’s Ada Twist, Scientist, illustrated by David Roberts (2016); Kimberly Derting and Shelli R. Johannes’ Cece Loves Science, illustrated by Vashti Harrison (2018); and elsewhere. Geraldine and most of her class present as white; there are two students with darker skin.
Doubtless well meant but a superficial view of what science both is and does. (Picture book. 6-8)