“I am fascinated by children’s natural curiosity and innate science exploration skills,” says author and Yosemite Association naturalist Michael Elsohn Ross. “For ten years I have worked with my good friend Allison Brown, a teacher, seeking new ways for children to experience open-ended science play.”
It was findings from this project that ultimately gave rise to What’s the Matter in Mr. Whiskers’ Room, a book of hands-on mini-experiments that lead to big ideas—and promote an ongoing passion for independent discovery. “I decided I wanted to create a fictional classroom where kids were having the kind of grand adventures and discoveries that I’d observed,” the author says. “To an adult, dirt is dirt, water is water, and gloop is just some yucky squishy stuff. But to Corrie, Miguel, Pearl, and other intrepid youngsters, great discoveries are just around the corner.” The seven science stations in What’s the Matter in Mr. Whiskers’ Room are designed to encourage students to use all their senses to make observations and draw conclusions, ultimately making science discoveries as simple as child’s play. Says Kirkus Reviews, “Hopefully, Ross, a naturalist and author of forty books for children, has many more Mr. Whiskers adventures planned. Great fun with appealing science.”
Michael Elsohn Ross, who is also the author of Sandbox Scientist, a book for parents and teachers that was named a Smithsonian Notable Book, as well as the children’s book Snug as a Bug, enjoys visiting schools to present assemblies and workshops for students, teachers, and families. He lives on the edge of Yosemite National Park with his wife and son.