How Science Saved the Eiffel Tower

by Emma Bland Smith (Author) Lia Visirin (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

 The city of Paris wanted to tear down the Eiffel Tower!

Gustave Eiffel, an engineer and amateur scientist, had built the incredible structure for the 1889 World's Fair. Created using cutting-edge technology, it stood taller than any other building in the world!

More than a million delighted people flocked to visit it during the fair. But the officials wondered, beyond being a spectacle, what is it good for? It must come down!

But Eiffel loved his tower. He crafted a clever plan to make the tower too useful to tear down by turning it into "a laboratory such as science has never had at its disposal." As the date for the tower's demolition approached, Eiffel raced to prove its worth. Could science save the Eiffel Tower?

Find out in this extraordinary picture book by award-winning author Emma Bland Smith (Mr. McCloskey's Marvelous Mallards, The Gardener of Alcatraz). With delightful illustrations, an engaging narrative, and little-known facts, How Science Saved the Eiffel Tower is sure to be a hit with soon-to-be scientists, engineers, and history buffs.

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Starred Review
One of the few picture-book biographies celebrating the work of an engineer, this volume tells the little-known story of a man who left his mark upon the world.

School Library Journal

Gr 2-4—When the Eiffel Tower was first erected for the 1889 World's Fair, the citizens of Paris hated it. Only after construction was complete did they embrace its unique structure. However, the agreement with the city officials was to tear the tower down after 20 years. To keep his creation standing, architect Gustave Eiffel scrambled to make the tower practically useful. He installed a modern weather station at the top. He used it to help measure the physics of wind to figure out the aerodynamics of air travel. He even made it into a radio-transmitting tower. Once people accepted it as both architecturally unique and useful, they decided to keep it. The book's text clearly conveys the complex attitudes at the time. Illustrations do a wonderful job depicting 19th-century Paris. The tower is exquisitely rendered in all phases of construction, and so are the bickering citizens of Paris. Visirin's artwork is reminiscent of David Roberts's intricate linework. VERDICT Add to large nonfiction collections in need of unique perspectives on world landmarks.—Chance Lee Joyner

Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Capstone Editions
Publication date
August 20, 2022
BISAC categories
TEC034000 - Technology & Engineering | Radio
Library of Congress categories
Picture books
Tour Eiffel (Paris, France)
Eiffel, Gustave
Informational works
Radio and television towers

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