FICTION

Charlotte the Scientist Is Squished

illus. by Brianne Farley. 40p. Clarion. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544785830.
COPY ISBN
RedReviewStarPreS-Gr 2—Young rabbit Charlotte considers herself a serious scientist, complete with a lab coat and goggles, a clipboard, and a healthy understanding of the scientific method. There's just one small detail holding her back: her large, rambunctious bunny family. Tired of being squished at the dinner table and finding her beloved beakers and test tubes accidentally broken, Charlotte hypothesizes, experiments, and observes her way to a solution: a carrot-shaped spaceship for one, of course. But when loneliness gets the best of her, it's "time for more experiments!" This picture book debut is a smart tale of familial frustrations and resulting ingenuity that's sure to resonate with makers and readers with their own share of pesky siblings. Farley's illustrations—done in charcoal, pencil, and ink on paper and colored digitally—are filled with humorous touches that invite repeat viewing (watch how Charlotte's bunny ears communicate her feelings). The use of pastel colors and black outlines adeptly mirrors the tone, light but not precious. Select pages include the appropriate step in the scientific method ("Step 2: Form a Hypothesis"), and cutaways to Charlotte's clipboard help to reinforce how the process works. An ending spread, "In the Lab with Charlotte," breaks down each step, with a reference to where it occurs in the story, making this title ideal for sharing one-on-one or with a small group.
VERDICT Perfect for aspiring scientists and fans of Vera Brosgol's Leave Me Alone!—and a fine addition to picture book collections.

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