I’m a huge fan of Pip Jones. If you are not familiar with her books then I can recommend checking out Piggy Handsome and Squishy McFluff, that’s after you’ve checked out Izzy Gizmo. This is the perfect read for inspiring children to be creative, solve problems and for developing a love of scientific skills.
Izzy Gizmo loves inventing, the only problem is the things she invents seems to have a knack of malfunctioning. Her poor Grandpa is often the bearer of the unfortunate malfunctions but rather than admonish her for he mistakes he is full of positive encouragement, “Try again and again if you want to succeed.” When Izzy finds an injured crow she wants to do something to help it, but inventing new wings is a tricky thing. Can Izzy’s new invention ‘take-off’?
If you are familiar with ‘Rosie Revere, Engineer’ by Andrea Beatty and David Roberts then you will immediately be noticing the similarities between Rosie and Izzy. Child inventors who are both more than happy to give-up when things don’t work out how they had planned. Both Rosie and Izzy have positive role models who encourage them to keep on going and will not allow the children to give-up on themselves.
Izzy Gizmo is a fabulous rhyming story about one young girl’s trials and tribulations in her search to find an invention to solve a problem. It is full of positive messages about never giving up, perseverance, how mistakes help us learn and embracing failure. The rhyming prose are a delight and the lively and vivd illustrations by Sara Ogilvie are detailed and engaging. I particularly love the ever-changing expressions on Izzy’s face and her bright red cheeks. Ogilvie perfectly captures Izzy’s highs and lows (and the crow’s too)!
It it is hilarious watching Izzy’s frustration as things don’t go to plan as her reactions are so typical of a child; kicking things that don’t work, going off in a huff, sulking, yelling, wanting to throw things away; it all feels so authentic and genuine. There is obviously an important message behind all of this and that is that children need to be resilient, overcome problems and difficulties, and develop a growth-mindset.
Part of me was a bit uneasy as I watched Izzy race around the town ‘pinching’ the things that she needed for her bird-wing invention. I have a particular dislike when books make things that are wrong seem ok. I was glad to see that at the end of the book Izzy’s misdemeanours are recognised and she is told to go and fix what she has broken.
I love this read as it challenges gender and family stereotypes. Grandpa and Izzy live together, are BAME characters and it is great to have a young girl represented as an engineer and inventor. This is essential reading for any young child, particularly girls, who aspire to become inventors and/or engineers. An enjoyable and engaging read and a reminder about the importance of never giving-up. If you want more of Izzy’s adventures there is great news as they continue in a second book, Izzy Gizmo and the Invention Convention.
Recommended for 6+.