Invent-A-Pet by Vicky Fang & art by Tidawan Thaipinnarong (2020)
Summary: this STEAM picture book story is about a girl who wants an extraordinary pet. When Katie receives a pet-making machine without instructions, she must figure out the formula for her perfect pet.
What I Enjoyed
- Kid Relatable Moments: many kids want pets or want things that are unique. Katie is written and illustrated to be about eight, the perfect age to be aware of exactly what she wants.
- More STEAM, Please?: I’ve dabbled in programming and have started teaching my own kids logic concepts, so as soon as I read this book, I was blown away at all the foundational concepts Vicky and Tidawan introduced in a kid-friendly way. Input-output, logic, variables, and creative problem-solving wrapped up in a fun story.
- Surprising Moments: Katie’s machine brings out so many surprising creatures. We know she wants a rainbow-colored dragon (who wouldn’t), but the story takes a surprising turn as we learn with Katie. She quickly figures out the first two settings, but the last one is a mystery. This is so true-to-life. Programming can go smoothly and then you get stuck on one thing. Or things just explode.
Mentor Text Moments
- For Authors – First and last pages: the first page sets up the story’s conflict, the main and the main character’s desire beautifully. The last page circles back to the opening idea, but provides just the right shift for a chuckle and aha-moment in the end.
- For Authors – STEM: Vicky’s text presents logic, a foundational skill, in a simple way. Tidawan’s illustrations help visually explain Katie thought process.
- For Illustrators – imaginative creatures: This book had to be a blast to draw. Tidawan explores scale and color with every animal invention!
Want to read more?
For more by Vicky Fang, visit their website.
For more by Tidawan Thaipinnarong, visit their website.