Monday, March 8, 2010

Nonfiction Monday: Doyle and Fossey, Science Detectives

The Case of the Gasping Garbage (July, 2009)
The Case of the Mossy Lake Monster (July 2009)
The Case of the Graveyard Ghost (October 2009)
The Case of the Barfy Birthday (October 2009)... by Michele Torrey, illustrated by Barbara Johansen Newman. Grades 2-5. Sterling Children's Books. I received copies of the first two books in the series from the publisher for review.

Meet Drake Doyle and Nell Fossey, two of Mossy Lake's best science detectives. Have a problem? Got a mystery? Doyle and Fossey can help solve it with science!

Okay, okay, these books aren't strictly nonfiction, but I'm posting about them on Nonfiction Monday because these stories are a great way to interest kids in science and they include activities and experiments that kids can try. In each story, Doyle and Fossey solve a mystery or a problem by using the scientific method, research, and experiments. Each book contains four stories and then a section with science activities to go along with the problems Doyle and Fossey solved in the book.

For exmaple, in A Teeny-Tiny Case (in The Case of the Gasping Garbage), Doyle and Fossey test ink from different pens  to determine who in their fifth grade class wrote a love note. At the back of the book is the information needed to do the same experiment, using chromatography to match the ink from a note to the pen that was used to write it.

I mean, the stories are written for the purpose of including this scientific information, so take that as you will. I don't know that the stories on their own would be something that kids would necessarily enjoy. The strength of the series is in the information and experiments that are included along with the stories. These books are a great choice for budding scientists and fans of Encyclopedia Brown. They'd be great for classroom or homeschool use and are sure to spark interest from kid readers who will be itching to try out the experiments.

Happy Nonfiction Monday! You can find this week's roundup at Lost Between the Pages, so head on over there and see what the KidLitosphere has been learning about this week.