Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Today's read... My Dog is NOT a Scientist by Betsy Ellor

The title of today's read caught my attention and already had me chuckling. Thanks to our own dog,  I had all sorts of ridiculous scenarios popping into my mind's eye. Since I do love books with humor, too, I decided to give one a go. 

Before we jump in, I'm going to already say that this one is squirming its way on to my possible favorites of 2023 list. And you'll find out why below.

by Betsy Ellor
Illustrated by Luisa Vera
Yeehoo Press
Picture Book
40 pages 
ages 4 to 8

A humorous, endearing story about a passionate, young scientist who is determined to achieve her goal--no matter what! Yara is out to prove that she's the greatest scientist in town! Her annoying neighbor Eddie always wins the Science Fair, but this year is going to be HER year. Like every good scientist, Yara starts with a question, makes observations, and comes up with a hypothesis . . . but each time she starts an experiment, her dog, Renzo, ruins it! Could Renzo be up to something more than making trouble? From Betsy Ellor and Luisa Vera comes a humorous, endearing story about a passionate, young scientist who is determined to achieve her goal--no matter what!

GOODREADS    /    B&N    /     KOBO     /     AMAZON


An energetic and very playful dog creates scenes, which will have readers laughing, while sneaking in the basic foundations of creating and conducting experiments in the slyest and most clever ways.

Yara is the best scientist in town, and this year, she's finally going to prove it, especially to Eddie. The neighbor kid wins the science fair every year and insists that she doesn't have a chance. The main reason: Renzo, the family dog. But Yara is determined and not giving up. She's a professional and knows how to conduct her research and experiments, but despite her careful planning and set-up, Renzo finds a way to mess things up to the extreme. At this rate, Yara will never get the chance to prove her greatness.

You don't need to be a dog owner or fan to get caught up in this silly read. Yara is a girl with spunk and determination, and the slightly arrogant attitude of her neighbor will have readers rooting for her from beginning to end...or maybe not, since Renzo's antics are worth every laugh. While Yara sits down and conducts her careful and very scientific (and age appropriate) studies, it's hard not to wonder and guess at how Renzo will ruin every single one. The illustrations bring each scene detail and make the humor that much more fun as every disaster creates chaos.

What surprised me, though, was how masterfully the author weaves in the important aspects of forming an experiment. From creating a hypothesis to planning and recording data, Yara gets a chance to go through step-by-step. Thanks to her personality, it fits into the humor seamlessly. At the end of the book, there is more information on how to do experiments and projects as well as other fun hints. This makes this a great read to launch readers into their own science realms. So, teachers and homeschoolers might find this a fun way to use this as an introduction to those first experiments. If nothing else, laughs are guaranteed.

The read flows smoothly with something grabbing happening on every page. The text is age appropriate and does introduce some more difficult terms, but not without explanation. So, it expands the vocabulary without ever growing even remotely boring or weighing down. It makes a very nice read-aloud and fits the age group nicely. I enjoyed this one quite a bit.

And here she is...
Betsy Ellor lives in a home filled with kid shenanigans, canine chaos and creative projects run wild. Her picture book debut, My Dog is NOT a Scientist launches in 2023 from Yeehoo Press. Her 2021 anthology Heroic Care: 35 Writers & Artists Show What It Means To Care reached the top 30 on Amazon, and her family musical Sara Crewe has been performed across the US.
Midwest-born, Betsy started as a playwright, earning a degree in Creative Writing from Ball State University before shifting her focus to novels and picture books.
Betsy works as an interior architect, designing offices, condos, restaurants, science labs, hospitals, and more. This explains her uniquely visual voice and her passion for stories that keep creative thinking at the heart of scientific exploration. Betsy lives near the beach in Massachusetts with her son and dog (aka the bringers of chaos).
In her free time, Betsy loves lifting up her creative community. Her author interviews have been featured in Spine Magazine and she ran the writers market segment of The Creative Collective for years. She is an active member of SCBWI and 12 x 12 as well as an adjunct professor at Endicott College. She spends way too much time on the computer but frequently escapes for hiking, biking, paddle boarding, and beach time. 
Click here for a selection of her work.

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