Title: How Science Saved the Eiffel Tower
Author: Emma Bland Smith
Major Themes: Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, Gustave Eiffel, Architecture, Science
Synopsis: After the Eiffel Tower was built, it was scheduled to be demolished after 20 years—unless its builder could come up with a reason to keep it standing!
I love picture book biographies. They usually tell a story we’ve never heard before, or introduce us to a person we’ve hardly heard of. For example, did you know that the Eiffel Tower was never meant to be a permanent fixture in Paris? I read How Science Saved the Eiffel Tower to my seven-year-old yesterday, and noticed that my husband was listening in. He seemed to enjoy the story as much as my daughter. Earlier in the day, one of my upper teenage sons noticed the book, and he wanted to read it, too. I would say that this is a book that appeals to all ages!
The Eiffel Tower was built in the 1880s as the entry to the 1889 world’s fair. The government of France told Gustave Eiffel, the creator, that they would allow the tower to stand for 20 years. Parisians were relieved at that, because they did not like the way the tower looked. It was too modern! Mr. Eiffel was determined to keep it standing. But what could he do?
Gustave Eiffel tried many different tactics to keep his tower standing. He realized he had to make it important to the people of France, especially to the government of France, or there was no hope. So, he tried making it a weather station. He used it for experiments with air resistance. But what could he do to finally convince everyone that the tower should stay?
Emma Bland Smith has created a great story to describe the Eiffel Tower. How Science Saved the Eiffel Tower is so well written, it’s really fun to read aloud. The one thing I would probably have changed about it would be to add pronunciations, either at the beginning or end of the book, for the French words sprinkled throughout the story. There is a list of meanings of those words, but no pronunciations. However, that did not detract from the story too much. Those words helped to make it fun to read the story. The pictures are beautiful, and paired with the engaging text, this book is a great one.
I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
Read Aloud—Ages 3 – 4, 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12