Book Review: Min Makes a Machine


Min Makes a Machine
By: Emily Arnold McCully
Reviewer: Eileen Hanning

Min is a problem solver. On a hot day, Min and her friends, who all happen to be elephants, want to play outside. Ann and Bess think it’s too hot, but Min gets creative and finds ways to cool down. This guided reading level picture book with a STEM twist showcases a girl’s persistence and ingenuity. Part of the “I Like to Read” series, simple text combine with McCully’s bright and whimsical watercolor illustrations to make this early reader style picture book fun and manageable for a beginning reader. From a STEM standpoint, the story shows Min devising a way to get water out of a well into an empty pool but doesn’t explain how her invention works. Illustrations show how she wraps a hose around a pipe and puts it in the well. As Min turns the pipe, water moves up the hose and pours out into the pool. There’s no explanation how the water screw works beyond, “Min turned the tube…and turned…and turned…Water came out!” While the story succeeds in depicting problem-solving skills and creativity, it misses the opportunity to introduce simple tools, like the screw, to young readers, either with more descriptive text, a sidebar, or endnote to be shared by a parent or teacher. Teachers could use this picture book as a fun discussion starter about persistence, problem-solving, or simple tools.

Children’s Literature is a division of CLCD, LLC.

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