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Rube Goldberg's...Humdrum School Day

Author: Jennifer George, Ed Steckley (illustrator)
Lower Age: 5
Upper Age: 7
Price: $17.95
Year Added: 2017
Look Inside:

Rube Goldberg's Simple Normal Humdrum School Day is a tongue-in-cheek picture book for children ages five through seven, that walks through a series of complicated, wacky contraptions that a young Rube Goldberg designs to solve his normal, everyday problems. These range from getting himself dressed to making a painting for art class to protecting himself from his baby brother’s food messes. The book takes inspiration from the drawings of real-life cartoonist Rube Goldberg, which illustrated convoluted, humorous solutions to simple problems. In the case of this book, however, the problems are ones familiar to any elementary-aged kid. By combining the fundamental goal of engineering - problem solving - with double-wide watercolor illustrations and a quirky sense of humor, Rube Goldberg's Simple Normal Humdrum School Day is likely to endear itself to children today just as much as the original cartoon appealed to newspaper readers almost ninety years ago. The illustrations in the story emphasize that it’s important to approach problems by looking for a solution, even if that solution is out-of-the-box. Children are encouraged to never dismiss an idea as unrealistic or silly, because sometimes unusual solutions may be the best!


Engineering thinking and design practices the gift encourages children to do or learn about: Idea generation, refine ideas, ask questions about a problem


Engineering text or context explicitly provided by the gift: A problem to be solved by developing a new or improved object, tool, or process, a client, a user, criteria, constraints


Additional practices and skills needed by engineers that were addressed by the gift: Creative thinking, design, perseverance, problem solving


Overall ratings:

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  • Engineering & STEM Experts Reviews
    • Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “This book promotes engineering thinking and design through the sharing of incredible contraptions that Rube created for his everyday life.  It shows that through extensive creative thinking and perseverance you can make one-of-a-kind machines to do awesome things!