Friday, February 26, 2016

Never Insult a Killer Zucchini!

Never Insult a Killer Zucchini  
by Elana Azose & Brandon Amancio; illus. by David Clark
32 pages; ages 7-10
Charlesbridge, 2016

Topics: alphabet, science experiments, humor 

Opening: “I grew zucchinis when I was a boy. They’re my favorite!”

It’s time for the science fair and Mr. Farnsworth is the judge. When the killer zucchini hears Mr. Farnsworth profess his love for zucchinis, it falls in love. Maybe Mr. Farnsworth could be a friend? But when Mr. Farnsworth says, “He looks like a yummy afternoon snack,” all bets are off. The killer zucchini is determined to squash Mr. Farnsworth and stay off the menu. And it uses the science fair experiments to exact revenge until chaos breaks out and only Mr. Farnsworth can save them all. 

What I like about this book: I like that the story is told through dialog balloons and comic-book type illustrations. I also like that the outrageous science fair experiments are introduced in alphabetical order. I love the whimsy of the illustrations, too.

But what I really like is the back matter. “Think the projects in this book are just mad science?” ask the authors. Nope; they all come from the real world – even the “eraser beam” and “invisibility suit”. Each experiment is explained in the back using language that we comic-book readers can understand. 

Beyond the book: Think of the weirdest science experiment someone might want to try. Then find out if anyone has tried it! Antimatter experiments? Yup, being done. Killer zucchini? Not so much, although there are plenty of carnivorous plants. Here’s a video. 

Do some science. You can find experiments at this site. And this one. 

Make some goop! Just follow these instructions. 

Today's review is part of the STEM Friday roundup. Drop by STEM Friday blog for more science books and resources. We're also joining PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture BooksReview copy provided by the publisher. 


  1. This sounds delightful. Thanks for the review.

  2. I am always on the lookout for a fun picture book with an adult protagonist!

  3. I like the humor in this. It would be fun to pair it with SOPHIE'S SQUASH, maybe?

  4. I like the quirky humor in this book. But, I also like how it encourages kids to investigate. The science project ideas in the back matter.

  5. This one sounds unusual! And for older readers, too. Will look for it!

  6. How fun! My oldest child once took a giant zucchini from my garden to play cars with when he was young. I'll have to check this out.

  7. Oh, I hope I can get this one at the library. I was going to make zucchini break yesterday, but my 9-year-old rejected the idea. He's no fan, so I bet he'd love this book.

  8. That opening makes me want to read this book! Ha!