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  • Michelle Nott

No Eiffel Tower?

How Science Saved the Eiffel Tower written by Emma Bland Smith and illustrated by Lia Visirin, published by Capstone Editions.


I have visited the Eiffel Tower more times than I can count, and yet never knew its destiny had ever been questioned so many times!


How Science Saved the Eiffel Tower is an informative and entertaining nonfiction picture book that reveals the story behind the Eiffel Tower and its creator, Gustav Eiffel.


Emma Bland Smith's thorough research and story-telling skill offer little known facts about the creation and uses of La Tour Eiffel. In addition, she sprinkles easy to decipher French words throughout the text. I think young readers will particularly enjoy the page where Parisians are debating whether or not to keep the tower in a ricochet of OUI! NON! OUI! NON!


Gustav Eiffel had known that his tower would only be allowed to stand for 20 years. But that didn't stop him from building it in the first place nor trying time and again to find a reason for it to stay. In fact, he found plenty of reasons, but not all Parisians agreed. They thought it was good enough for the World's Fair, but not much more than that. Despite being useful for a variety of scientific research projects, including meteorology and aviation, the tower was still in peril. I appreciate how this story demonstrates perseverance even when discouragement and criticism weighed so heavily all around. Monsieur Eiffel never gave up, the tower still stands, and young readers will be enlightened and encouraged by this great engineer and scientist.


Lia Visirin's excellent illustrations bring Parisian life of the late 19th century to life in vivid images.


Lastly, back matter includes a brief epilogue, list of French terms, additional facts on the Eiffel Tower, a timeline, source notes and a bibliography.


Imagine It!


Imagine that you are in charge of creating a magnificent, never-before-scene structure for the next World's Fair.


Imagine where you would like to build it and draw a picture of how you would plan to build it.


Imagine everyone coming to see it! But alas, there will come the time that it is scheduled to be taken down.


Imagine the crowd who wants to keep it (OUI!) and the crowd who does not (NON!).


Make a list of all the "oui" reasons. Make a list of the "non" reasons.


Imagine other uses for your creation so that there are more reasons under "OUI" than under "NON."


Draw and color a picture of your final creation with lots of people enjoying it.


You could also write a story about how the structure came about, who helped build it, and how it was saved from destruction.


Imagine you and your creation as famous as Gustav Eiffel and his tower!


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