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Children's Nonfiction Weather

Sydney & Simon: Full Steam Ahead!

by (author) Paul Reynolds

illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Initial publish date
Sep 2014
Weather, Mice, Hamsters, Guinea Pigs, etc., Environment
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2014
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 6 to 9
  • Grade: 1 to 4


Twin mice solve a problem using STEAM in this early chapter book for young artists, inventors, and creative thinkers—featuring illustrations from the award-winning author/illustrator of The Dot

Sydney and Simon are twin mice on a mission. They want to enter their flowers in the neighborhood flower show, but the flowers in the window box are wilting in the city heat, and the window is jammed. How are they going to get water to their blossoms so they'll live and flourish in time for the show?

Sydney and Simon are lucky to be growing up in a curious and creative family and are encouraged to ask questions, experiment, and record their findings through writing, art, music, and video. Their mother is a scientist and their father is a poet. Their family motto is: "When the going gets tough, the creative get going."

Utilizing the S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) philosophy of learning, this brightly illustrated story shows how an interdisciplinary studies model helps Sydney and Simon achieve their goals. In a practical, fun, and hands-on way, young readers will be inspired to interact with their own natural learning skills and start experiencing the world-and their education-in a whole new way.

About the authors

Paul Reynolds is the co-founder and CEO of FableVision Studios, a media company that makes award-winning websites, games, animated films, digital storybooks, iPhone apps, and more. Paul has partnered with his identical twin brother, Peter Reynolds (a New York Times best-selling children's book author and illustrator), in developing the Sydney and Simon series.

Paul Reynolds' profile page

Peter H. Reynolds' profile page


  • Nominated, Indiana Young Hoosier Book Award

Excerpt: Sydney & Simon: Full Steam Ahead! (by (author) Paul Reynolds; illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds)

The faucet squeaked when Sydney turned the handle, and the garden hose wiggled as water pulsed through it. Simon aimed straight up toward the flowers, but the flow of water wasn't strong enough. Instead of reaching the flowers, the water came splashing down on Simon's head.

Editorial Reviews

Twin mice solve a problem using STEAM — science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics — in this series opener.

When a heat wave threatens to kill the window-box flowers the twins need for their much-anticipated Art in Bloom show, they have to both figure out why their third-story window won't open (the water cycle is to blame) and how to get water to the thirsty flowers (an invention of Archimedes' is the answer). Luckily, several dei ex machina lead the twins to some people who can help them spark some ideas. Sydney and Simon, the offspring of an inventor mother and poet father, are steeped in the arts and sciences that will help them in "thinkering" about their problem and finding a solution. Sydney expresses herself through drawing, using her spiral-bound Wonder Journal to jot down ideas, record hypotheses and draw what she observes. Simon's Wonder Journal is on a tablet, allowing him to take pictures, record video and sound, and combine all these into something new. Sydney and Simon are solid, though perhaps idealized, models for those aspiring to STEAM careers — though in this chapter book, readers accustomed to STEM programs will be struck by the emphasis on the arts piece. (STEM to STEAM is a Rhode Island School of Design inititave to add the arts and design to STEM). Ink-and-watercolor-wash illustrations complement the text.

Inspiration for young scientists, artists and inventors.
Kirkus Reviews

Twins Sydney and Simon are the best kind of inquisitive; they're eager and excited to investigate all the wonders that come their way. When their windowbox flowers are threatened by a stuck window, the two get to work exploring how to solve their problem. As they seek the input of trusted adults and creatively hypothesize how to get water to their flowers before they die, they end up incorporating elements of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) into their efforts. The book's overall message-that life is full of opportunities to solve problems, learn, and be creative-could easily feel contrived, but Reynolds weave these elements into an appealing narrative. All concepts are concisely explained through the text and accompanying illustrations of the purple mice at work, with a helpful glossary of terms at the end. Many a young artist, inventor, and idea enthusiast will find plenty to enjoy in this early chapter book.
Schooll Library Journal

Other titles by Peter H. Reynolds