Children are naturally curious and are always excited have the opportunity to experiment. These three Cybils nominees in the Early Chapter Book category are books that are sure to become favorites of young readers who are transitioning into longer books with more detailed plots featuring favorite characters.
The Princess in Black and the Science Fair Scare
by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale (authors) and LeUyen Pham
Candlewick Press 2018
96 page Early Chapter Book for grades 1-4
Themes – Science Fair, teamwork, friendship, superheroes, monsters
Setting: Intergalactic Science Fair
Fans of Princess in Black books will be thrilled to read this sixth installment in the series. Princess Magnolia heads to the Intergalactic Science Fair with her poster explaining her seed project. She meets up with her princess friends, each with an exciting project. Princess Magnolia and her friends are amazed with Tommy Wigtower’s talking volcano project. Tommy is concerned because the volcano is supposed to erupt – not talk! Unfortunately, his use of monster fur in the creation of the project resulted in goo monster growing in the volcano. The monster wreaks havoc on the other projects and Princess Magnolia takes on her identity as the Princess in Black. As she attempts to get the monster under control she is joined by a new hero, Princess in Blankets, who helps her solve the hungry goo monster problem using some scientific reasoning.
Like the other books in this wonderful series, each chapter has bright and cheerful illustrations showing a diverse group of characters. The girls are adventurous and use teamwork to solve the monster problem. There is humor and excitement from start to finish making this a perfect book for students reading on their own.
Fergus and Zeke at the Science Fair
by Kate Messner (author) and Heather Ross (illustrator)
Candlewick Press 2018
48 page Early Chapter Book for grades 1-3
Themes: Science experiments, mice
Fergus and Zeke are the classroom mice in Miss Maxwell’s classroom. The mice participate in the student activities by listening to stories and keeping their own calendar and journal. So, when it is announced that the class would be participating in the school science fair, Fergus and Zeke are excited to join the fun. They are dismayed, however, when they learn that they are to be the subjects of Lucy’s experiment where they need to find their way through a maze to receive a treat. They want to do a project – not be the project! These clever mice turn the experiment around when they figure out a way to train Lucy to cheer in order for them to perform.
Written in 4 very short chapters, this book has a funny and engaging plot that gives a great example of processes involved in conducting an experiment. This is the second book about Fergus and Zeke and hopefully there will be more to come.
Zoey and Sassafras Unicorns and Germs
by Asia Citro (author) and Marion Lindsay (author)
Innovation Press 2018
96 page Early Chapter Book for grades 1-5
Themes: Unicorns, germs, scientific method
Setting: Zoey’s home and barn
For those who enjoy fantasy mixed with fact, the series featuring Zoey, her cat, and the magical animals they meet is perfect. In this sixth book of the series, Zoey is learning about bacteria while making yogurt. Suddenly, she and her mother feel an earthquake. When the barn doorbell rings, Zoey goes out back and discovers an injured baby unicorn. But this is no little unicorn, it is gigantic and is the cause of the quaking. Zoey tries to help the unicorn who has an injured leg. When infection sets in, Zoey experiments and figures out what she needs to do to help the unicorn to heal.
Zoey is a bright inquisitive young scientist who loves animals. Zoey’s mother gives suggestions but it is Zoey who logically solves each problem. Safety tips are stressed as well as information on how to properly conduct an experiment. The chapters are short and written in a large font. There are black and white illustrations on nearly every page spread. This book will appeal to a broad age range of young readers. Don’t be surprised to find kids trying out the experiments on their own after finishing the book.