Friday, December 04, 2020


Title: Mia Marcotte and the Robot
Author: Jeanne Wald
Illustrator: Saliha Caliskan
Publisher: Jeanne Wald
Pages: 180
My GoodReads Rating: 

Mia Marcotte is a third grader who dreams of becoming an astronaut, and of being the first human to land on Mars.

At school, her science experiments tend to flop, and that poses a problem. Ms Perkins, their science teacher, has announced that all those who present great science projects at the science fair will go on a special field trip to the science centre. There is nothing that Mia would like more than to go on the trip.

The problem is that the science fair is just three days away and she has no idea what do for her project. Best friend Ella receives help from her physicist mom but Mia’s parents, an architect and an accountant, can’t help her.

Her aunt Serena, who is an engineer in Paris, is supposed to come down and spend the summer with the Marcottes. But then she is delayed and it turns out that she won’t arrive until after the fair. Aunt Serena sends her baggage ahead of her, and Mia’s Dad warns her not to touch Aunt Serena’s stuff.

Desperate to come up with some idea for the project, she improvises on the failed experiment to make a rocket. When her makeshift rocket lands in the guest room, Mia has to get it back. She decides to just pick up the rocket and leave. But then while she is there, she hears a strange sound. It turns out to be her aunt’s robot, Aizek, a French- and English-speaking robot.

With no one to rely on except herself and her pet parrot, Martian, will Mia be able to come up with a great project?

The story is charming and the illustrations designed to appeal to children and grownups alike. The chapters are short, a quick read.

Of the minor characters, Ms Perkins is the sort of woman who could encourage the scientific temperament in kids, given her infinite patience. We need more people like Ms Perkins if girls are to be encouraged to take to STEM careers.


There are some interesting quotes: I wonder if science is real magic, and grow-ups just hide it from us is a great quote to describe the spirit that imbues this book.


The Marcottes are immigrants, and the book calls attention to that fact too. 

There was just one error I found. In one place, prey was spelt as pray. I hope the author makes the change.

All in all, a charming book about the magic of science and the power of persistence and imagination. 


My 12-year-old daughter who read the book enjoyed it. She especially appreciated the fact that a girl was being shown working on a science project.

She liked the fact that Mia teaches Aizek about the power of the imagination, that the robot tries to draw and keeps trying until he gets perfect. That when Mia is disappointed, he shows her the drawings that weren’t quite good. It’s a reminder, she said, that you have to practice if you want to get better at anything. 

(I read this book through NetGalley. Thank you, NetGalley, the author and the publisher.)

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