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Friday, March 31, 2017

Charlotte the Scientist is Squished, written by Camille Andros and illustrated by Brianne Farley. Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Raincoast, 2017. $23.99 ages 6 asnd up

"It had become impossible
to conduct her experiments.
Her test tubes were taken,
her beakers got broken, and her
specimens were spoiled.
Charlotte needed some space.
Time to use the scientific method!

Step 1:
Ask a question."

We are immediately aware of those impressive and famous people who sparked Charlotte's interest in science. She is as serious as they were! She has, just as they had, a 'method to the madness'. It is pointed out to readers on the first page that the scientific method is  what guides her work. She wants to proceed through questioning, hypothesizing, experimenting, observing and concluding just as all successful scientists do. She has all the right equipment - protective glasses, magnifying glass, clipboard, and lab coat.

There is one huge problem! Her family, and ALL of its members. Charlotte is squished  in the middle of a bunch of bunnies, no matter what she is doing. So then, how is a serious scientist to go about such important work? Using the scientific method, she sets out to solve that particular problem first. The question is easy. The hypothesis, as well:

"If I can get rid
of my brothers and
sisters, I will have
room to be a
real scientist."

The experimentation is problematic. Perhaps, really being in space is the answer! Her observations and conclusions lead her to finally believing she has achieved success. Other problems arise, and she is made painfully aware of one thing - 'space was lonely'. All she has to do is revisit the final three steps to come to a solution.

Brianne Farley's illustrations 'were executed in charcoal, pencil and ink on paper and colored digitally'. They are full of imagination, detail and add humor. Readers are sure to be very interested in the specs for the carrot-shaped rocket ship Charlotte uses in her search for 'space'. They will find them on the endpapers.

There you have it! For non-scientists (as I consider myself), this is a book that I would have liked to share with my classes as we thought about science fair projects.

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