Admittedly, it is rare for someone to gift us a book that is completely new to me… In fact, I’m often told we’re a pretty difficult family for whom to buy books. Every now and then, however, someone knocks it out of the park with a complete surprise of a book, which is always exciting. This year’s completely new-to-me book that we are THRILLED to have is Made by Maxine, by Ruth Spiro (you may already know her “Baby Loves Science” board books, such as Baby Loves Coding! and Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering!) and illustrated by Holly Hatam (who illustrated Dear Girl, which we also received this holiday season and are thrilled to have!).
Made by Maxine tells the story of Maxine, a young tinkerer, who “loves making new things… from old things.” But it is so much more than simply a story about a girl who builds, creates, and reinvents. This is also a story about perseverance and grit, about loyalty and friendship. While these themes are all directly addressed in the text, Made by Maxine never reads didactically; the messaging is direct but natural. Creating new things, learning from mistakes, and loving friends— what a trifecta of wonderful messages to send young readers!
Hatam’s illustrations are eye-catching and relatable for children. She includes detailed backgrounds on some pages, but on others, our eyes are drawn to Maxine’s creative process highlighted by a plain white background. My girls enjoy looking for Maxine’s mom and brother, who both show incredible support for and pride in Maxine throughout the book. And, be sure to look carefully for photographs of real scientists taped to Maxine’s bedroom wall!
Publishers recommend this book for ages 4-8. Our 3-year-old has asked for this repeatedly since receiving it, and I can see this being used with a group of older girls to inspire engineering and design projects.
If you liked this, check out:
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters: The Questioneers Book 1 by Andrea Beaty (chapter book— great for older readers)
DOLL-E 1.0 by Shanda McCloskey
Audrey the Amazing Inventor by Rachel Valentine
The “Baby Loves Science” series by Ruth Spiro (great for younger readers)