Written by Andrea Beaty, Illustrated by David Roberts
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2016
ADA MARIE! ADA MARIE!
Said not a word till the day she turned three.
The plot in a nutshell: A young girl loves questioning and discovering.
Young Ada is constantly searching for new information, exploring every nook and cranny in her house and when she finally speaks her first word, it’s “Why?” Her parents try to keep up with her constant questioning and assure her that she’ll figure it all out. One day, she smells something terrible and starts hypothesizing and experimenting to find the source of the smell. When her experiments lead her to douse the cat in perfume, her parents make her stop and send her to a chair to think. Ada thinks and this leads to her scribbling ideas all over the wall. Her parents realize that her mind will never stop, so they decide to support her curiosity and help her in her experiments. And Ada even involves her class in her research.
I got to go to a local book signing event for the release of this book and had the joy of hearing author Andrea Beaty read it aloud. She shared some really interesting background information about how the illustrations for Iggy Peck, Architect showed a class full of children and both Ada Twist and Rosie Revere (from Rosie Revere, Engineer) stood out to her as having stories of their own. Of course, this means I now want books on every child in that classroom, but Ms. Beaty couldn’t promise she would be able to make that happen. In line to get our copies signed, my daughter and I were picking out kids and coming up with potential book names based on what we saw in them and that is a good indication of how invested we feel in these characters.
Illustrator David Roberts once again uses watercolors and pen and ink, along with pencil and graph paper to present Ada’s story. Readers will notice both Iggy Peck and Rosie Revere in the classroom and particularly astute readers will notice that all three of them keep pencils with them at all times now. A note in the back of the book points out that Ada Marie is named for famous female scientists, Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie. We also get to see that Ada successfully found the source of the terrible odor, in the form of an extra drawing of a specimen jar holding her brother’s tennis shoes. I loved this wonderful book that encourages curious girls to grow their natural passion for science.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that there are lots of “Why?” questions out there and the world needs more people to help find the answers.