In this follow-up to Cats Are a Liquid (2019), Donnelly and Saburi invite budding scientists to ponder further.
It is a trope of physical comedy that banana peels are comically and catastrophically slippery, but how slippery are they, really? Inspired by the real-life experiments of Japanese scientist Kiyoshi Mabuchi, Donnelly compares banana peels to a wide variety of materials that move, slide, and glide. From lava flows and jelly wobbles to their namesake, the banana slug, fluids, friction, and even fashion are explored with smiling, anthropomorphic banana peels and a bevy of diverse young scientists all along the way. Saburi’s round-headed and dot-eyed cartoon children and comical bananas are delightful, and the liquid cats even make an appearance. As with its predecessor, the text can often stray into nonsense (“Is a squid a banana that dives in the deep?”). While the illustrations are adorable and animated, the questions posed and comparisons made in the rhyming text are sometimes only tenuously tied to banana peels. Rather, the banana peel seems to be an arbitrary vehicle to introduce many unrelated experiments, from rocketry to botany. Because of this, though the text is simple and encourages a brisk pace, the spreads are best enjoyed when explored together with an adult who can call attention to these details. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-16-inch double-page spreads viewed at 39.1% of actual size.)
A mixed bag of vibrant artwork, silly rhymes, and a spark of curiosity, best enjoyed in a cozy lap. (author's note, activity) (Picture book. 3-6)