cover image Min Makes a Machine

Min Makes a Machine

Emily Arnold McCully. Holiday House, $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-3970-6

Min, the ingenious, intrepid little pachyderm protagonist of the early reader 3-2-1-Go, is back to save the day with a new invention. The social dynamics are the same: Min, whose bright pink bow embodies her indomitable energy, wants to play with older elephants Ann and Bess, but they view Min as a pest at best. (Readers with older, too-cool-for-you siblings will instantly identify.) In this installment, it’s a brutally hot day on the savannah, but Ann and Bess would rather sweat, sulk, and tell Min to “go play with someone else” than do anything to change their situation. Not Min: she figures out a way to flood an empty pool using water from a nearby well and an Archimedes’s Screw (although it’s not named as such), and suddenly the pages are awash in splashes of bright, almost palpably cooling blue. McCully (Caroline’s Comets) breaks down Min’s problem solving into digestible, replicable parts and acknowledges that every great solution takes hard work. It’s a nifty lesson in both science and tenacity, but some may wish that McCully had slipped in an etiquette lesson as well: would it kill Ann and Bess to thank Min? Ages 4–8. [em](July) [/em]