CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 25. . . .March 4th, 2011.
Bulging Brain Experiments. (Horrible Science Handbooks).
Nick Arnold. Illustrated by Dave Smith.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2010.
96 pp., pbk., $7.99.
Human physiology-Experiments-Juvenile literature.
Grades 2-7 / Ages 7-12.
Review by Barb Taylor.
Nick Arnold, the author of Bulging Brain Experiments, taps into his young audience's love of jokes, guts, monsters and pranks in this humorous look at the workings and wonders of the human brain.
Bulging Brain Experiments is a cross between a graphic novel and textbook with the mad scientist Baron Frankenstein seeking to fit his underpants-clad Monster Boy with a proper brain.
Wear your oldest clothes,
put newspaper down
and prepare to mop
The book is filled with messy experiments. Readers can create a model of a "squishy brain" from mashed potatoes. The experiments in the books are simple to perform using household items. Bulging Brain Experiments demonstrates brain-related phenomena with harmless tricks you can play on family and friends. Test friends' reflexes by having them stand close to a window while you chuck a scrunched up piece of paper at them from the other side. Watch them and then note the size of their pupils. There are self-administered quizzes to test your predictions against facts along with interesting factoids set apart in sidebars of differing fonts and colours.
The text is to the point and easy to read. By successfully combining science with the right amount of goofiness, Bulging Brain Experiments would appeal to most upper elementary children.
Barb Taylor is a freelance writer and elementary teacher-librarian in Black Diamond, AB.
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