11 Experiments That Failed

Hypothesis: Ketchup and snow are the only food groups a kid needs.

Written by Jenny Offill, Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

In this book of “household experiments,” a girl utilizes the scientific method to put her many inventive ideas to the test with hilarious results. Without a traditional narrative, the book is formatted as a notebook containing a series of questions and hypotheses, each with a prescribed process for testing and the young scientist’s observational notes and conclusions. We follow the budding researcher as she tries the merits of such hypotheses as “a piece of bologna will fly like a Frisbee,” “dogs like everything,” and “yodeling makes time go faster.” The yodeling experiment is performed in the car with her family during a traffic jam. The flying bologna experiment is performed in the school lunch room by disassembling a sandwich. The illustrations are extremely unique and effective: collages of notebook sketches, photos, textbook diagrams, graphs, and more. This book is an excellent way to illustrate the scientific method in effect for young students, while also making them laugh and inspiring more mischievous scientific exploration. I highly recommend this book for elementary school libraries.

Review by Joshua Whiting, GSD Library Media Program
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 2-6

Click here to see some sample page spreads!


11 Experiments That Failed
Written by Jenny Offill, Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
Schwartz & Wade Books
40 pages
Release Date: September 27, 2011
ISBN: 9780375847622 (hardcover)

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17 thoughts on “11 Experiments That Failed”

  1. What a great book to have for our library! Yes, I would love to have one. I love books that explain scientific facts to kids in a fun and colorful way so that they can understand.

  2. Tawnya Albertson

    I would love this book! As soon as your review mentioned “girl” I wanted it. The boys will love it, but I hope having a “girl” on the cover, it might entice my girls to enjoy a science book.

  3. I read to my classes last year, “17 Things I’m Not Allowed To Do Anymore”. Since then the students have wanted more stories about this young girl who pushes her boundries a bit too often. I’m sure this is as entertaining.

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