Today I will share with you the summary and my views on the book Penny, The Engineering Tail Of The Fourth Little Pig by Kimberly Derting and Shelli R. Johannes, and illustrated by Hannah Marks, which is the third and final book from Capstone Editions that I have recently received for review. While going through these books, I spent some time scrolling through Twitter timeline of Capstone Editions, and came to know the wide spectrum of popular science books published by them. It is indeed a commendable job and worth appreciating. The future of society lies in the hands of future generation, and how the future generation would look like is decided by the type of investment we make in them. Considering the change in brain activity with age, it is important to ‘catch them young’, inculcating habits from an early age. Science is not just about learning facts and understanding the world around us; instead, it teaches us to go beyond superficial appearances, dig below the surface, and examine everything logically and rationally. It is these concerns that make the contribution of Capstone Editions and similar publishers all the more praiseworthy.
Interestingly, all three books under discussion are of similar length, price and nature. However, the content and approach is different for each of them. The book How Science Saved The Eiffel Tower narrated the historical background and scientific importance of the structure. On the other hand, the book Moving To Mars dealt with space exploration, a development going on in the present and which carries scientific, technological and maybe societal importance for the future. Though dealing with different times, the basic concepts in both the books were real. The book Penny, The Engineering Tail Of The Fourth Little Pig is different on all accounts. First, as the title suggests, the storyline is primarily about engineering. Secondly, it is a fictional tale with engineering and scientific concepts scattered throughout the narrative.
Any branch of engineering involves application of several scientific laws and concepts, particularly from Physics. The Mechanical and Civil Engineering segments of this story borrow heavily from Mechanics. Thus, the story simple as it is, still had plenty of scope to introduce Physics laws and concepts e.g., lever and cantilever both through text as well as illustration. This is important because examples of application of mechanics are scattered all around us and can easily be noticed by an observant and aware mind.
The story is about four sibling piglets, the youngest of which was a female child. All four became engineers with different specializations. Once a wolf attacked their home and destroyed it repeatedly. The brothers called their sister for help who devised plans based on mechanics to confront the wolf and drive him away. After their success, she proposed to build a bigger house which would be secure from further attacks by the wolf. The story is simple and straight forward without any complex or complicated twists, and can be understood easily by young readers.
As for pun and humour, it is introduced through a play of words to make them funny. For example, New Pork City and Statue Of Pigerty, nearly always with a connotation/reference to pigs and piglets. It appears amusing at first, but then becomes monotonous later on.
The illustrations are clear, clean, and made in sober colour. Of course, the book cover must have already given you an idea how the illustrations look like. The illustrations support the narrative and are detailed to the extent as is adequate for the purpose. Like the narrative, the illustrations also had plenty of scope for depiction in detail.
The back cover of the book promises a book ‘… full of fun, puns and girl power’. This note is misplaced. Being a woman is great, being a scientist is absolutely wonderful. Encouraging young girls to take up science and engineering is indeed praiseworthy. The only problem is that this book doesn’t have anything to do with that.
Title: Penny, the Engineering Tail of the Fourth Little Pig
Author: Kimberly Derting and Shelli R. Johannes, illustrated by Hannah Marks
Publisher: Capstone Editions
Publication Date: 30 July, 2022
Print Length: 32 pages
Suitable for Age: 4 – 6 years
Price (Kindle): $9.99
Price (Hardcover): $17.99
What Does It Mean?