In a clear triumph for the scientific method, a young researcher systematically discovers how to keep his two close friends from punching each other out every time they meet.
Appropriately if stereotypically clad in a white lab coat, Scientist enjoys playing separately with his much bigger, likewise conventionally costumed buddies Viking and Pirate—but when the two come face to face at his birthday party, disaster is plainly in the offing. Time for “scientific instinct” to kick in. Hypothesis: Will cake bring the combatants together? Yes, but not in a good way. Will party games improve the outcome? Uh, no. Time for a new approach. Chapman’s narrative has an adult ring (“Viking was seething. Pirate was fuming”), but younger audiences will be hooked by the generous measures of exaggerated cartoon-style brawling. They should also come away with a greater appreciation for Scientist’s logical, nonviolent method of problem-solving. Scowls turn to smiles after a round of leading questions—“What’s your favorite way to spend Saturday mornings?” // “PILLAGING AND PLUNDERING!”—sparks a new amity founded on common interests.
Waging peace through…science! That this debut is as funny as it is sneakily informative is icing on the cake. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-7)