LONG LIST REVIEW: Izzy Gizmo

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Izzy Gizmo is an inventor. She has her own tool bag and is constantly on the hunt for things to mend or upcycle. Despite creating the most incredible functioning machines, Izzy is also learning that gadgets and gizmos can often have glitches: her Tea-Mendous popped a piston and Swirly-Spagsonic turned the wallpaper to confetti. Whist being incredibly clever, Izzy does lack the ability to stay calm when her creations don't go quite right. She will grump and huff, and in frustration, want to quit; without her grandpa's patient advice and support, she probably would. Grandpa convinces her to keep on trying if she wants to succeed.

When Izzy comes across an injured crow in the garden, the spark of inventive creativity is reignited within her. She is determined that if the vet can’t fix the crow’s wing, then she will. Izzy studies and gathers all the gadgets and gizmos she might need. Her first attempt at creating a new wing fails miserably and her confidence as an inventor is again knocked. With Grandpa’s gentle encouragement, Izzy finds the confidence to keep trying. Izzy attempts many different creations but eventually learns that the only way to succeed is to try, try and try again.

A beautiful, engaging story told entirely in rhyme, Pip Jones’ text and Sara Ogilvie’s illustrations work together seamlessly to tell this inventive story of Izzy, her grandfather and their fathered friend. This powerful story not only features creativity and problem solving, but also offers an opportunity to discuss a growth mindset. It has alliteration, rhythm and bright, engaging images, which are full of opportunities for inference. There are many ways to engage the reader through questions: ‘What will happen if Izzy switches it on?’, ‘What will grandpa think?’. 

This book not only offers a picture book perspective on STEM, but also champions diversity. The character of Izzy is not only female but black, much like the character of Ada Twist in ‘Ada Twist Scientist’. It was Pip Jones’ hope that her character provide children of all ethnicity an opportunity to see themselves in print, something she struggled to see when she herself was a child.

After reading this book readers could…

  • Create their own design for something to use around the home, like Izzy’s Tea-Mendous and the Swirly-Spagsonic.
  • Design a wing for an injured crow.
  • Make a wing for an injured crow from plastic, cardboard and old springs.
  • Write a letter to Izzy to encourage her not to give up on her inventions.
  • Investigate some of the gadgets Izzy uses and find out how they are used - pumps, engines, sprockets and sumps.
  • Research crows and find out if they really are as clever as the crow in the book.

 Izzy Gizmo  by Pip Jones, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

Simon and Schuster    ISBN: 9780857075130