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“‘You say nothing’s impossible?’ Val shook her head. ‘What about teaching a lion to sing? Or staying awake for an entire year? Or lifting a thousand pounds? Or walking on your hair? Or flying?’” –Goldie Blox and the Three Dares
Goldie Blox and the Three Dares
by Stacy McAnulty
AR Test, Diverse Characters
While in the attic, Goldie Blox finds her grandmother’s book of dares. With the help of her friends, she is determined to finish the last three remaining challenges. However, one of the challenges may be impossible. Despite this, Goldie Blox is determined to succeed and make her grandmother proud.
Goldie and her friends complete a series of dares ranging from eating a hot pepper, smelling a rotting fish flower, stealing the original Bloxtown blueprints, and having a picnic on the moon. While completing the challenges, Goldie and her friends each use talent and engineering. For example, when Goldie and her friends need to cross a swollen river, Goldie makes a zip line. For another task, Ruby uses her minicomputer to deactivate the museum’s alarm system.
Goldie Blox and the Three Dares introduces readers to STEM and features a group of interracial friends. The friends are illustrated with different skin tones; however, the characters’ races are never discussed nor does it affect any of the characters’ behaviors. The story focuses on each character’s unique talent and personality. Despite the friends’ differences, each person helps Goldie complete the challenges.
The story shows the power of imagination, problem-solving, and extreme risk-taking. Goldie is up for any challenge and has more freedom than the average seven-year-old. For example, Goldie and her friends are dropped off at a trailhead and embark on an overnight camping trip. While some of the events are presented in a cartoony way, some of the dares could lead to injury. Also, while completing the challenges, Goldie’s parents know that Goldie and her friends are planning on breaking into a museum and they allow the children to proceed with the theft as long as they return the stolen item afterward.
Goldie Blox and the Three Dares will appeal to younger readers. The story uses easy vocabulary, short paragraphs, and cartoonish black and white illustrations that appear every three to five pages. Goldie and her friends are smart and creative; however, the story never explains how any of their inventions are created. Also, some of the antics are too outrageous to be believable. For example, while breaking into the museum, the guard has an alligator on a leash. In order to distract the alligator, Goldie’s dog, Nacho, “dropped a potato chip. Then another and another. He made a trail of snacks leading away from the Gearheads.”
The Goldie Blox Series will entertain readers and spark their interest in engineering. The Goldie Blox toy line will also give readers a chance to create some gadgets of their own. Younger readers interested in engineering will also enjoy Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty. Strong readers who want books that combine engineering and positive friendships should put the Ellie Engineer Series by Jackson Pearce at the top of their reading list.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Goldie modifies her walking stick to sing a different version of 99 bottles of beer on the wall. Instead of using beer, the stick sings, “One hundred bottles of superglue in the shop. . . Take one down, use it all up.”