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Children's Nonfiction Machinery & Tools

Operation Cupcake

How Simple Machines Work

illustrated by Bambi Edlund

Kids Can Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2023
Machinery & Tools, How Things Work-Are Made, General
Recommended Age
7 to 10
Recommended Grade
2 to 5
Recommended Reading age
7 to 10
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2023
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


In this hilarious story about a couple of clever mice on a quest for a tasty treat, readers get a “paws-on” introduction to six simple machines.

Ginger and Mac are pros at snatching up delicious tidbits and bringing them back to their cozy mousehole to eat. Today, though, their mission is complicated. Their target is an especially aromatic vanilla cupcake with pink buttercream frosting. Only, it's (a) too big for them to carry, (b) on a high counter within leaping distance of both the resident cat and dog and (c) under a heavy glass cake dome. Luckily, these mice love nothing more than solving a challenging problem (except maybe eating buttercream frosting!). Ginger is sure they can use simple machines to get the job done. But is she right?

Bambi Edlund has created a fun way to teach children about the basic concepts of mechanical physics. Ginger and Mac's adventure story is told in panels with dialogue boxes, while the science behind how simple machines work is explained throughout the story in fully illustrated sections that never interrupt the flow of the narrative. The result is a highly entertaining book that gives readers a clear and easy-to-understand overview of the six simple machines - inclined plane, lever, pulley, wheel and axle, screw, and wedge - and how they make life easier. It's sure to inspire readers to search for examples of simple machines that exist all around them. With loads of hands-on activities that can be done at home or in the classroom, this is an excellent choice for teaching elementary physics and engineering.

About the author

BAMBI EDLUND is an illustrator, writer, and peanut butter sandwich enthusiast living on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia. She spends much of her time drawing, sculpting, and chatting with the various critters that live nearby. She is determined to someday teach a raccoon to juggle ... but so far they just roll their eyes at her and steal her oranges.

Bambi Edlund's profile page

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