Splish! Splosh! Why Do We Wash?: Experiments in the Bathroom

Book review by
Jennifer Gennari, Common Sense Media
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Curious kids find answers in fun science book.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book is packed with illustrations, humor, and experiments.

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What's the story?

What is a wave? How does the toilet flush? Curious kids will find the answers in this science book with riddles, experiments, and amazing facts. Four animal characters, named for famous scientists, keep kids intrigued, but some of the explanations and vocabulary are beyond younger listeners. Nevertheless, it provides a good starting point for science discussions.


Is it any good?

Bathtub playtime can be a good time to slip in a little science about waves and water, and this book tries very hard to be fun while answering questions like "Why do I turn red in the tub?" It blends serious explanations with cartoonlike animals that tell riddles, and it suffers from the adult view that science has to be made cute to interest children. The whimsical animals will attract 5- and 6-year-olds, but they will be turning the pages and tuning out the scientific explanation. Older children will understand the science, but they may feel that the bathtub theme and the animals are babyish.

The questions and experiments also vary in quality. Very few children will wonder what hard water is. The experiment to understand how soap works shows how oil and water don't mix, but the explanation about emulsion, what happens when shampoo is added, doesn't go far enough.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the experiments. Try them at home. Talk about what you expect to happen, then conduct the experiment to see how it turns out.

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