Illustrated by Amy Willcox.
Published by QuestFriendz, 2022.
Super Questers, The Case of the Stolen Sun is the first instalment in a unique new series which aims to inspire a love of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) through interactive play and stories.
When Lilli and her best friends Leo and Bea unite to solve a challenging science problem they turn into superheroes Lillicorn, Leo Zoom and Bea Bumble and journey to a magical world full of adventure and quests. This is an interactive story and the three friends need the reader’s help in their mission to track down Lord Grumble and return the stolen sun to Questland before it’s too late.
Each double page is a new ”quest” – a problem to solve before moving on. There’s a variety of activities which develop a range of skills, from coding and algorithms to pattern recognition and spatial perception. Once you’ve completed a quest you add a sticker to the reward chart at the front of the book. Rather than using a pen or pencil to do the tasks, there’s a selection of brightly coloured reusable stickers to use. This means that the book can be read and enjoyed multiple times and by a number of different children. There’s even a second set of repeat play stickers to use once the first set have lost their stickiness.
My six-year-old son enjoyed the book and managed to complete the tasks with just a bit of help from me. We both struggled with the mental rotation activity though! There are patterns to spot and continue, routes to plot, instructions to sequence and problems to solve.
Alarmingly, one third of parents and teachers inaccurately perceive STEM discipline as more closely fitting boys’ brains, personalities and hobbies (source: Accenture Girls in STEM 2017 report) and even children as young as six can develop ideas that girls don’t like computer science and engineering as much as boys (source: PNAS Scientific Journal). Therefore, the SuperQuesters are on a mission to embolden ALL children, and especially girls, to become super problem-solvers and curious creators as they join them on their STEM adventures.
Not only do STEM skills equip children with a transferrable skillset, but they also help them to develop a love of learning and a sense of curiosity, promoting self-esteem as children learn how to problem-solve and view failure as part of the learning process. As a teacher, I know only too well how important the latter point is. Children are often reluctant to make mistakes and I have to do a lot of work on changing this mindset and building resilience.
This is a lovely new series doing important work in broadening the appeal of STEM. It was a hit with us at home and I can see it being very popular at school too.
Suitable for children aged 5+
Thank you to QuestFriendz for sending me this book to review.