The Girl Who Could Fix Anything: Beatrice Shilling, World War II Engineer

Candlewick. Sept. 2021. 48p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781536212525.
K-Gr 4–An uplifting look at a World War II—and STEM—heroine. Beatrice Shilling was different from the very beginning. Unlike other children she spent her pocket money on tools rather than candy, and she spent so much time building new creations and working on her motorcycle that when she was old enough, she became an apprentice engineer to bring electricity to villages in her area of England. When she went to study engineering at university, Beatrice realized that not only was she the only girl, but she was one of the best in her program. She was also one of the fastest, winning races on her specially modified motorcycle. It wasn’t until World War II began that Beatrice was able to truly shine, traveling around the country to fix airplanes for the Royal Air Force. Only Beatrice, the girl who could fix anything, could tackle the biggest problem facing the fleet of the Royal Airforce—and help win the war. This engaging and inspiring read owes a lot of its appeal to Duncan’s charming illustrations, featuring a determined, likable heroine. Author Rockliff has created a book that is simple enough for kindergarteners to enjoy while still being interesting for third and fourth graders—no easy feat. Further reading includes a more detailed background of the character, providing needed historical and cultural context. Includes an extensive list of sources.
VERDICT A delightful and welcome addition to STEM collections everywhere.

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