Sydney & Simon: Full Steam Ahead!
Paul A. Reynolds, author
Paul A. Reynolds’s childhood home was as lively as Sydney and Simon’s. His family’s ginormous supply of pencils, paper, books, and art was referred to as “the creativity tools.” Today Paul exercises his imagination at FableVision Studios, a media company he founded with his twin brother, Peter. Together they create storytelling technology, such as websites, games, and animated films. Paul is also the author of the children’s book Going Places. He lives in Dedham, Massachusetts, where his wife manages The Blue Bunny, the family’s bookstore.
Read more about Paul A. Reynolds.
Peter H. Reynolds, illustrator
Peter H. Reynolds learned early on that two minds are better than one. Like his twin, Paul, he believes that the arts help us solve problems and understand the world. Peter has written and illustrated many books for children, including The Dot, Ish, and The Smallest Gift of Christmas. He also illustrates Megan McDonald’s Judy Moody series. Peter lives in Dedham, Massachusetts, where his wife runs an art gallery just across the street from The Blue Bunny.
Read more about Peter H. Reynolds.
Twin mice solve a problem using STEAM — science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics — in this series opener.
When a heat wave threatens to kill the window-box flowers the twins need for their much-anticipated Art in Bloom show, they have to both figure out why their third-story window won't open (the water cycle is to blame) and how to get water to the thirsty flowers (an invention of Archimedes' is the answer). Luckily, several dei ex machina lead the twins to some people who can help them spark some ideas. Sydney and Simon, the offspring of an inventor mother and poet father, are steeped in the arts and sciences that will help them in "thinkering" about their problem and finding a solution. Sydney expresses herself through drawing, using her spiral-bound Wonder Journal to jot down ideas, record hypotheses and draw what she observes. Simon's Wonder Journal is on a tablet, allowing him to take pictures, record video and sound, and combine all these into something new. Sydney and Simon are solid, though perhaps idealized, models for those aspiring to STEAM careers — though in this chapter book, readers accustomed to STEM programs will be struck by the emphasis on the arts piece. (STEM to STEAM is a Rhode Island School of Design inititave to add the arts and design to STEM). Ink-and-watercolor-wash illustrations complement the text.
Inspiration for young scientists, artists and inventors.
School Library Journal
Twins Sydney and Simon are the best kind of inquisitive; they're eager and excited to investigate all the wonders that come their way. When their windowbox flowers are threatened by a stuck window, the two get to work exploring how to solve their problem. As they seek the input of trusted adults and creatively hypothesize how to get water to their flowers before they die, they end up incorporating elements of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) into their efforts. The book's overall message-that life is full of opportunities to solve problems, learn, and be creative-could easily feel contrived, but Reynolds weave these elements into an appealing narrative. All concepts are concisely explained through the text and accompanying illustrations of the purple mice at work, with a helpful glossary of terms at the end. Many a young artist, inventor, and idea enthusiast will find plenty to enjoy in this early chapter book.
ISBN: 978-1-60734-750-7 EPUB
ISBN: 978-1-60734-693-7 PDF
Page count: 48
6 x 9
Correlated to Common Core State Standards:
English Language Arts-Literacy. Reading Literature. Grades 2-3 Standards 1, 3-7, 10