Meet Matilda Rocket Builder – Dom Conlon

Due for publication on 3rd June, this latest book by author Dom Conlon is the perfect choice for 8+year olds, with the content combining punchy text with eye catching illustrations by Heidi Cannon, this book offers an engaging storyline that will definitely interest early chapter readers as much as it will confident chapter readers that are a few years older in age.

The book is written in the narrative of young girl Matilda, who is absolutely determined to show the people on Earth the error of their ways, and intends to do so by traveling to the Moon in a spacecraft she makes entirely herself. Readers can expect an unforgettable adventure that is out of this world in possible way.

Early on it is evident that this book has been well researched which is visible from the quotes from historical speeches scattered throughout, and the abundance of facts that feature. Meet Matilda Rocket Builder is as much a storybook that readers will become invested in from the get go as it is an education in key historical moments relevant to the theme. The thread that ties all of these components together is the science element to the book, and all of this with a confident, capable, and relatable female lead character at the helm.

Matilda tells readers of respective hurdles that she has to overcome in order to successfully launch herself into space, and reinforces her decision making with links to previous Apollo missions (both successful and not), lessons in relevant science, and the ways she logically reaches her conclusions to be able to move from one aspect of space travel to the next with the confidence that she will be a success story.

From the food she will need, and how much of it, to the air she will breathe once successfully in Space and outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, and even how she will be able to use the loo – yes even that is considered! – there is no stone left unturned in this brilliantly written book that will leave children feeling inspired by a reality where anything is possible if you put your mind to it, and call upon others for support where needed, just like Matilda does with best friend Kareem, who she confides her plans to, and trusts his opinions and advice.

This STEM themed book is exactly what primary school libraries need, and with multiple copies to ensure fulfilling demand. When I promote new titles to classes in my role as primary school librarian, and subsequently deal with being swamped by requests for new books – not just those new to the school library stock, but new to the children as they talk to me of their hobbies and interests whilst looking for books – the requests for space, science, construction and engineering themed story books is by far one of the leading themes, and whilst more confident chapter book readers can (and are) steered towards the likes of Vashti Hardy titles such as Wildspark and the Brightstorm series, Peter Bunzl’s Cogheart titles, and Catherine Fisher’s Clockwork Crow trilogy, there is a demand for early chapter book titles more then ever, and Meet Matilda Rocket Builder ticks every box.

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