Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Behind the Books: A Must Read

I don’t usually review books on this blog. But once in a while I find a title that I love so much that I want to share it with anyone and everyone who will listen. 11 Experiments that Failed by Jenny Offill and Nancy Carpenter is that kind of book. 

What makes this book so great? For starters, it capitalizes on every child’s natural curiosity. We need more books that do that. Lots more.
Second, it’s LOL hilarious. Who can resist that?

But most important of all, I’ve never seen a book that so successfully introduces children to the scientific method. The entire text is presented as the steps of the scientific process. Here’s an example:

Question: Can a kid make it through the winter eating snow and ketchup?

Hypothesis: Ketchup and snow are the only food groups a kid needs.
What You Need: ketchup, snow

What to Do:

1.     Make a snowball.
2.     Dip in ketchup.
3.     Eat
4.     Repeat three times a day until spring.

What Happened: Stomachache, brain freeze, love of ketchup wavering.

Even on its own, the text is pretty darn funny, but the artwork by accomplished illustrator Nancy Carpenter really kicks it up a notch. And the endpapers are not to be missed. Seriously. That Nancy Carpenter is a genius.

I highly, highly, highly recommend this book. It should be a staple in every single elementary classroom and every library worldwide.


  1. Sounds too cool to pass up! Definitely going on my "must read" list.

  2. Ok, I'm off to find it at the LA Public Library right now. Thanks for the recommendation.

  3. I am a children's book seller and also an elementary science educator (teaching student teachers at a Faculty of Education). I use this book to also introduce the inquiry process and how to form a hypothesis, by re-wording your question. It's a wonderful book. I also carry your some of your books! This is a wonderful blog! Please, keep it up.