School Library Journal Review of The Bridge to Sharktooth Island: A Challenge Island STEAM Adventure

ESTROFF, Sharon Duke & Joel Ross. The Bridge to Sharktooth Island: A Challenge Island STEAM Adventure. illus. by Monica de Rivas. 128p. (Challenge Island: Bk. 1). West Margin. Nov. 2021. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781513218618; pap. $6.99. ISBN 9781513289533.

Gr 2-5–This story introduces three fifth graders forced to use their individual strengths and talents to work together and problem-solve their way out of trouble. Daniel, an avid gamer described as having dark skin, and Joy, an energetic risk-taker described as having “reddish hair” and blue eyes, hear the sounds of drumming while building a snowman in the front yard. They are magically transported to a tropical island where they meet Kimani, a young Black girl, who was reading in her local library and also heard the drumming. Together they find a treasure chest with supplies and a riddle encouraging them to build a bridge to safety. They encounter sharks and an art-loving, talking parrot named Da Vinci. Estroff’s clever prose helps readers think, plan, and create with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math). The characters are visually introduced to pictures of real bridges to consider when building, such as the Tower Bridge in London and the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Australia. Together they create, fail, and create again to build the strongest bridge using STEAM principles. This is the first in a series that combines adventure and STEAM with a little bit of magic. These are perfect for a technology-focused classroom and lessons, as well as adventure-loving students. Expressive illustrations throughout the chapters help readers to see the models as they are envisioned by the characters. Fun additions at the end of the story include shark facts, Leonardo da Vinci–inspired experiments, and instructions for readers to create the­ir own truss bridge.

VERDICT This is a great ­STEAM-infused addition to the fiction section of any elementary or middle school library.–­Christina Pesiri, Island Trees H.S., Levittown, NY