Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

11 Experiments That Failed

11 Experiments That Failed

Jenny Offill
Illustrator:  Nancy Carpenter 
Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Random House, 2011   ISBN: 978-0375847622

Quite a few children are of the opinion that eating fruits and veggies is not necessary. They believe that a steady diet of pizza, chips, and sweet drinks is just what they need. One little girl who has a fondness for conducting experiments, decides that she is going to prove that “a kid can make it through the winter eating only snow and ketchup.” It isn’t long before she figures out that eating snow and ketchup three times a day is not going to work because this diet causes stomachaches, brain breeze, and it affects her love of ketchup.

Though this particular experiment does not work out quite as planned, the little girl continues to conduct experiments that she think will prove that important hypotheses are indeed true. She decides that the best way to “speed up a boring ride” is to yodel. The girl tests her hypothesis in the car on the way to school and, well, she ends up having to walk. Apparently her mother does not appreciate yodeling.

Keen to answer some of life’s interesting questions, the little girl decides to find out if the “washing machine washes dishes.” Her hypothesis is that a washing machine can wash anything. After she tries washing some dishes in the washing machine, she finds out definitively that washing machines cannot wash everything. As a result of this particular experiment, the dishes and the washing machine break, and she decides that it might be a good idea to run “away to live in the bathroom.”

Adults and children alike are going to laugh (and groan) as they read about this girl’s eleven experiments, each one of which fails rather dramatically. Clever multimedia artwork combined with the tongue-in-cheek descriptions of the experiments (and their outcomes) make this the perfect title to read when life is feeling rather dull or sad.