The Best Kind of Water Ride!


The Science Museum won't open to the public for another hour, but Braden, Felix, Rosa, and Wendy are here to spend time with "daredevil scientist" Nate Ball. Nate hands each young scientist a ticket with two questions. The kids answer the first question right away, but the second question is not so easy. With just one hour to explore and get the answer, our scientific team shrinks in size and takes to the sky to join some water molecules and start their adventure learning about the water cycle. 

Parent Perspective:
The story is clever. I like how Nate gives readers a chance to answer questions right away so that they feel part of the story. Using daily activities as ways to help kids understand concepts (e.g., cycle = laundry) is a great idea. Braden's journal is a consistent feature for introducing science vocabulary.

That said, there is a lot of content crammed onto the pages. Not only do you have Nate and the kids talking, but molecules have their own conversations, and there is also a third-person narrator, too. Although this is a concept taught in third grade, this would not be an easy book to read with third-graders. The experiment at the back - and the explanation of how the scientific process works - is nice. Despite that the narrator is talking to kids, it reads more like it is intended for adults. 

Bottom line: I might select this book as a parent to collect vocabulary, learn basics of the water cycle, and then prepare the experiment to do with my child. It is not a book that I'd sit and read with them.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Readers familiar with Nate Ball or who like Bill Nye will enjoy this informational adventure.

Content Awareness Factors:

The pages are a bit crowded with content. The kids have "1 hour" to get the answers to their questions. Some readers may find this bit of suspense - combined with all the content coming at them - somewhat nerve wracking.

Type of Book:
This informational picture book uses comics-style bubbles and inserts to teach kids about the water cycle.
Educational Themes:

Although the story is built on fantasy (the kids shrinking to the size of molecules), the content is hard science. Vocabulary terms are collected as readers move along, as well as compiled in a glossary. Depending on how you are using the book, Braden's journal offers kids a moment to pause and write definitions on index cards. Taking the time to write notes can help reinforce learning.

If you are interested in combining information about the water cycle with understanding the scientific method, there is a two-page addendum that explains how the process works and gives you an experiment to make your own cloud.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
10 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
10 and Up
Purchase Recommendation:

Title Let's Investigate with Nate: The Water Cycle

Let's Investigate with Nate, Book 1

Author Nathan Ball
Publisher Harper, Imprint HarperCollins Publishers © 2017
Illustrators Wes Hargis
ISBN 9780062357397
Material Paperback
Cost $7.31
Genres Science, Fantasy

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