What would happen if a stand-up comedian—a good stand-up comedian, like Robin Williams or George Carlin (minus those seven famous words)—were to choose the question for a science experiment? This, in these pages, is what would happen.
Let’s see: Hypothesis—“Ketchup and snow are the only food groups a kid needs.” Result—Not so: Stomachache, brain freeze, "love of ketchup wavering." Hypothesis—Yodeling during a boring car ride "makes time go faster." Result—Learns the pleasure of walking. Hypothesis—"A piece of bologna will fly like a Frisbee." Result—Losing recess. These are marvelously nutty experiments, and by all means, do try them at home. (Maybe not washing the dishes in the clothes washer.) Offill and Carpenter send a one-two punch of quality: a poetic compression of words—“Mom cried. Seedlings died”—and multi-media artwork that is not only fetching but wonderfully dear—holding the gerbil’s hand on the Ferris wheel, the dog blinking as glitter is tossed on his head. ("Question—Do dogs like to be covered in glitter? Hypothesis—Dogs like everything.") Later, the same dog cranks his head and snakes his tongue to snarf a pimento-stuffed olive off the table. This is a most joyful and clever whimsy, the kind that lightens the heart and puts a shine on the day.
Go ahead, break a few dishes in the washing machine, see the humor and enjoy this fine poke at every science fair that ever was. (Picture book. 4-8)