Rummanah Aasi
  I'm almost at the end of my Monarch Award reading list. I love how these reading lists offer a wide range of subjects and genres. Today I'll be reviewing 11 Experiments That Failed by Jenny Offill, I Wanna New Room by Karen Kaufman Orloff, and I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen.

Description: Is it possible to eat snowballs doused in ketchup—and nothing else—all winter? Can a washing machine wash dishes? By reading the step-by-step instructions, kids can discover the answers to such all-important questions along with the book's curious narrator. Here are 12 "hypotheses," as well as lists of "what you need," "what to do," and "what happened" that are sure to make young readers laugh out loud as they learn how to conduct science experiments (really!).

Review: This was an unusual picture book as it didn't have your traditional narrative along with the text, but rather follows the scientific method of a curious child who comes up with bizarre and funny "What if?" experiments such as "What if you could eat snow and ketchup for an entire year?" Our little scientist follows through the failed experiment every time. Some of the experiments will require the reader to suspend disbelief, but I don't think they are meant to be taken seriously. I really do think there needs to be a tag line of "You should not try this at home" for any kids who might think these ideas are great. Overall a fun read but not the best picture book that I've read.

Rating: 3 stars

Curriculum Connection: Science

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades K-2.

If you like this book try: 17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore by Jenny Offill


Description: Ever since their baby sister came along, Alex has been forced to share a room with his little brother, Ethan, and it's a nightmare. Ethan always breaks stuff, snores like a walrus, and sticks crayons up his nose. No hardworking, well-behaved, practically grown-up boy like Alex should have to put up with that! Writing letters to his mom convinced her to let him get his pet iguana, so Alex puts pencil to paper again, this time determined to get his own room. Though all of his powers of persuasion can't get his dad to expand the house, he does come through with a fun alternative-a tree house!

Review: Anyone who has a sibling can definitely empathize with Alex. Alex has to share his room with his impossible, irritating younger brother Ethan in the wake of his new sister. Cleverly, Alex decides the best way to convince his parents is through a series of letters stating why he should have his own room and suggestions of how to improve it. His poor, exhausted mother defers the room debacle to her husband. The slapstick humor as seen through the colorful and zany watercolor images show Ethan turns into various loud and obnoxious creatures really captures Alex's wild imagination perfectly. Alex's persuasion letters are hilarious. The sibling anger and the final resolution are spot-on and give a gentle lesson on how to live together peacefully adds a nice touch. A definite child pleasing read and a good choice for a read-aloud.

Rating: 4 stars

Curriculum Connection: Language Arts- How to write a letter

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades

If you like this book try: I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman Orloff, The Pain and the Great One by Judy Blume


Description: A bear almost gives up his search for his missing hat until he remembers something important.

Review: Who says picture books are only for kids? I Want My Hat Back is a wonderful humorous read that can easily be enjoyed by adults and children. It reminded me of the classic Bugs Bunny cartoons that I use to love as a kid. A very polite yet oblivious bear goes on a search in the forest for his hat. He asks every animal that he meets and they all come up with the same question "No, I've not seen it" until a very suspicious rabbit seems to be a bit nervous and agitated when our bear asks him about his hat. With a hint of irony and youthful humor, Klassen has hit this book out of the ball park. The images are soft and incredibly cute and simple. You will definitely be laughing from the beginning to the end.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is a subtle darkness of what happens to the rabbit at the end of the book. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

If you like this book try: This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen, Beware of the Frog by William Bee, Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems, Oh, No! by Candice Fleming
1 Response
  1. I have to admit that 17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore is one of my favorite picture books. I love the humor in it. I don't know if the kids get it because my were past the age when I got it. I have a 6 yr old niece I plan to try it out on in Nov. I'm wondering about I Want My Hat Back. She's the youngest of 4 and the oldest is 26. I don't think darkness will bother her. I'm not sure she knows she's a girl. lol

    I am enjoying your picture book reviews with needing to buy some for her. I'm gonna make one of them a reader! She's my only hope!


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