This children’s picture book for early readers introduces a girl named Joy, who conducts a science experiment at school with her new friends.
The story, divided into chapters despite its brief length, begins with Joy expressing excitement because other children are finally moving into her neighborhood. She meets three boys, DJ, Justin, and Lloyd, and discovers they all love science.
Joy gets permission from their teacher at school to work on a science experiment together to see “how hot water has to be to melt plastic or glass.” They first watch boiling water create steam in a glass bottle, then observe the hot water melting a plastic bottle into a bowl-shaped object.
While stories promoting a love of science are highly desirable these days, problems with content and style greatly detract from this offering. Astute young readers will wonder why the title says “My New Friendship,” but Joy makes three new friends. They may ask why three dissimilar boys (one African American) are brothers. Are they adopted or children of mixed-race parents?
It’s also a mystery why a science experiment about how hot water should be in order to melt plastic doesn’t gauge the water temperature. When the experiment is over, a callout box notes: “Water is a source that can be used in many ways,” but no other ways are explored.
Significant stylistic issues also plague this book. The story shifts from first-person to third-person omniscient; pages 5 and 7 include both. There are mistakes in punctuation and subject-verb agreement, and artwork is confusing. On page 2, Joy appears to be between the ages of 7-10, but on page 4 she looks much older. All four children appear to have braces, but curiously this is never mentioned.
The result of these missteps is a problematic book. My New Friendship and Experiment requires thoughtful polishing before it is suitable for early readers.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.