Crazy for Science with Carmelo the Science Fellow by Carmelo Piazza and James Buckley, Jr., illustrated by Chad Geran, RL: 4

Crazy for Science with Carmelo the Science Fellow by Carmelo Piazza and James Buckley Jr with illustrations by Chad Geran (be sure to check out Chad's board book, Oh, Baby!) is by far the BEST science experiment book for kids I have seen in my two decades of children's book selling and parenting. Visually, Crazy for Science with Carmelo the Science Fellow is infinitely more engaging than most science books for kids. Kids will pick this book up and peruse it, where as most science books are very short on graphics and colors and are written in a way that requires parents to do the bulk of the reading and sometimes even the experimenting. In the first pages of the book, Piazza tells parents that his experiments are "designed so that kids can do nearly everything by themselves," and this is a very accurate statement. Piazza then urges parents to avoid the "temptation to dive in there yourself and get your hands messy," noting that kids will "get much more out of these experiments if they are truly hands-on; nothing teaches better than doing, and this book is all about DOING, not watching someone else do it." Honestly, though, these experiments are so fun and intriguing that I think you will have a hard time staying hands off, so you might just want to get two of everything going from the start...

Crazy for Science with Carmelo the Science Fellow calls for (truly) common household items for use in experiments for the most part. However, if you are the kind of parent who is buying this book for your child then you are also the kind of parent who will have the slightly-less common household objects like modeling clay, popsicle sticks, food coloring, balloons and pom-poms. But what I love most about Crazy for Science with Carmelo the Science Fellow is that Piazza is genuinely, with great kid-appropriate humor, teaching and not just throwing out the handful of basic experiments we see over and over. 

This makes sense, as Piazza  began teaching science almost twenty years ago and is the founder of the Brooklyn Preschool of Science, which opened in 2013, with a second school opening this year. I can't think of any better combination than preschoolers and science! Little pre-school brains are sponges and their curiosity is so vast - the thought of immersing them in an environment of experimentation and exploration and education almost makes me want to move to Brooklyn and have another kid. Crazy for Science with Carmelo the Science Fellow begins with a chapter titled, "What Is an Experiment," then goes on with six chapters covering various areas (inventions, biology, air, engineering, natural disasters and C.S.I for kids) with an after word and a science notebook! Experiments are either a "Science Activity" or a "Science Question." In each, children are actively following procedures and doing things like writing with invisible ink, building a mini-earth or making a helicopter. But, Piazza also has kids make observations and look for answers to questions like, "What causes a fart?" and "What is the best shape for a bridge?"Crazy for Science with Carmelo the Science Fellow is thorough but not overwhelming with just the right balance of instruction and information, activity and education.

If my raves aren't enough to convince you to buy this book for kids you know and love, you can watch Carmelo be completely engaging and funny while he demonstrates a couple of experiments in the videos below:

Source: Review Copy

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