Following The Not-So Itty-Bitty Spiders (2015), twins Olive and Beatrix return for another adventure featuring magic and science in this illustrated early chapter book.
Olive (“an ordinary girl,” as she informs readers—Olive narrates the story) and her best friend, Eddie, love science, and they look forward to presenting their projects at the school’s annual science fair. But Beatrix, who is a witch, uses her magic powers to create projects that always win the blue ribbon. This year though, Olive has worked extra hard and is certain she will win. On the day of the fair, the twins carry their projects (“the exciting world of MOLD” and “cloud made with science”) to school early and jostle for the same display table—and both projects crash to the ground. Olive’s mold and Beatrix’s cloud combine to create an out-of-control slime that the twins and Eddie must use their combined resources to combat. The story has imaginative action and characters that model working together and respecting each other’s talents despite philosophical differences, but it lacks notably diverse characters. Just showing a few characters as grayish doesn’t make an impact. The book’s visual format is lively, combining spot illustrations with full-page and double-page spreads and dialogue bubbles.
Visually lively with an engaging story; here’s hoping the next installment exhibits greater diversity. (activities) (Fantasy. 6-8)