Edie’s Experiments: How to Make Friends (The Edie Experiment #1)

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Charlotte Barkle (text), and Sandy Flett (illustrator), Edie’s Experiments: How to Make Friends (The Edie Experiment #1), Penguin Random House, February 2020 240 pp., RRP $14.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781760891770 

The first book in the Edie’s Experiments series tackles a familiar problem for the primary school age group; making friends at a new school. Edie is an enthusiastic young scientist. The only problem is that most of her experiments go pear-shaped. For example, when she starts at her new school, she decides to gift homemade slime to her new classmates. The slime, of course, melts all over the classroom causing a huge mess and landing Edie in trouble on her first day. 

It’s a funny premise and kids will relate to Edie’s desperate desire to make a good impression on her new classmates. Particularly heartfelt are the scenes where she catches up with her oldest friend Winnie and pines for the good old days when they conducted experiments together at their old school.  

As a former civil engineer and physics teacher, Charlotte Barkla evidently has bucketloads of science-related stories that will be employed throughout the series. The humour is enhanced with Sandy Flett’s line illustrations. A particularly fun spread shows Edie’s Detention Room Expectation complete with bats and torture devices and Detention Room Reality which shows a teacher in a classroom. Another enjoyable feature is the breakout boxes detailing Edie’s experiments with aim, equipment and method.  

A fun read for middle primary up. 

Reviewed by Heather Gallagher   

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