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Great Illustrated Books

11 Experiments That Failed

By Jenny Offill, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

Schwartz & Wade, 2011
Pages : 32
Suggested Ages: 4-8
ISBN: 9780375847622

Attention all wannabe scientists! Reading this book will spare you the time and effort it would take to test these 11 hypotheses. Each one of these experiments was such a spectacular and complete failure they need never be tried again. Besides, readers will be laughing too much to concentrate on collecting their scientific gear.

Each experiment is carefully, scientifically documented. Technically, any one could be replicated by anyone crazy enough to want to try. The text provides: Question, Hypothesis, What You Need, What to Do and What Happened. Even the youngest readers will easily predict the "What Happened" part, and therein lies the hilarity.

Sample questions: Can a live beaver be ordered through the mail? What is the best way to speed up a boring car ride? Will a piece of bologna fly like a Frisbee? Can a washing machine wash dishes?

Parent Tip:DO try this at home! Your local library has scads of science books (shelved in the 500 section) that give step-by-step instructions for safe and fun experiments. Online resources abound simply by searching "Experiments." Everybody knows what happens when vinegar is mixed with baking soda, but it's still amazing to watch the foaming, bubbling mess pour forth. An easy experiment for beginners: Clean copper pennies by putting them in a solution of white vinegar and salt. Presto, change-o!

Reviewed by : FH

Themes : SCIENCE & SCIENTISTS. HUMOR.

If you love this book, then try:

Cassino, Mark and Jon Nelson, Nora Aoyagi. The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter's Wonder. Chronicle Books, 2009.


Jenkins, Steve. Living Color. Houghton Mifflin, 2007.


Hillman, Ben. How Strong Is It? A Mighty Book About Strength. Scholastic Reference, 2008.

Critics have said

Offill's matter-of-fact recounting make for very funny reading and allow Carpenter to go all out with her collages, which create especially lively depictions of the protagonist's misadventures (and her mother's horror).
Publishers Weekly