Day: October 25, 2011

Review: 11 Experiments That Failed by Jenny Offill

11 experiments that failed

11 Experiments That Failed by Jenny Offill and Nancy Carpenter

A series of experiments take place in this book, each one funnier than the next.  They attempt to answer questions like: Can a kid make it through the winter eating only snow and ketchup?  Do dogs like to be covered in glitter?  Will a piece of bologna fly like a Frisbee?  The only way to find out is for the protagonist to test it scientifically.  That means trying to eat only ketchup and snow and observing the results.  Sprinkling her dog with glitter to see what happens.  Testing flight capabilities of bologna in the lunchroom of school.  All of the experiments have a question, a hypothesis, instructions, and results.  Budding scientists are sure to find plenty to laugh along with in this book, along with new ideas for experiments of their own.

This very funny book and also great fun to share.  The book design plays a big role in the fun.  Since the results are after a page turn, we enjoyed guessing what the results of the experiments would be.  Each experiment is unique, silly and entirely engaging.  The other winning part of the book is that this is a girl doing science, wearing her pink goggles and gloves, and her lab coat. 

The illustrations add to appeal.  The collage illustrations mix photographs and drawing.  They are quirky, colorful and glorious.

Get this one in the hands of science teachers who are teaching the scientific process.  Young scientists will also love it as well as any kid who enjoys silliness in their books.  But beware of flying bologna!  Appropriate for ages 5-8.

Reviewed from copy received from Schwartz & Wade Books.

Also reviewed by Pink Me and Young Readers.

Review: E-mergency! by Tom Lichtenheld

e-mergency

E-mergency! by Tom Lichtenheld

The entire alphabet lived together in one house.  Every morning they all ran down the stairs to breakfast, but one morning there was an accident.  E was running down the stairs too fast and took a tumble.  The ambulance arrived and took E off to the ER.  With E gone, A took charge and assigned E’s duties to O.  In order for E to heal, no one could use that letter.  The letters took to the airwaves to ask people not to use the letter E until E recovered.  They even went to DC to tell the government.  With O filling in for E, things got vory confusing.  But E wasn’t gotting any bottor.  Who could bo causing tho problom?

This book had me laughing aloud.  First was the puns with the different letters, the jokes told in the asides.  They are the real treasure of this book and will get young readers laughing too.  Then readers have to watch the letter characters too.  They tend to spell out appropriate words as the action in the book changes, adding another layer of humor to the book.  Add into that the humor of trying to read a book without the letter E, and you have this zany, silly wonderful book.

Lichtenheld’s illustrations are filled with humor and motion as well.  They are bright, busy and great fun to look closely at.  My favorite spread is the double-page illustration of a busy city street where E is not being used.  It results in lots of humor. 

This book reads aloud well, but I would not recommend it without reading it first, especially the many pages with O filling in for E.  It makes for a tongue-twister, but also one that young listeners will love to see you attempt. 

Hilarity, alphabet, and word play, what more could one ask for?  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from copy received from Chronicle Books.