No fair Science Fair – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Spread the love

scienceTitle: No Fair – Science Fair

Written and illustrated by Nancy Poydar

Published by Holiday House, 2011

Ages: 5-8

Themes: science projects, competition, birds, perseverance, school

Opening Lines:

Mr Zee’s class was having a science fair. Otis had tried lots of project ideas. 

“Remember the judges will be here next Friday,” chirped Mr Zee.

“Next Friday!” Otis gulped.


Mr Zee’s class is having a science fair. Otis’ classmates are all working on their projects, while he still hasn’t come up with an idea. Otis becomes more and more disheartened until finally he gets an idea (with a little help from Mr Zee!) He brings a smelly, used milk carton and birdseed to school, and makes a bird feeder, which he hangs in the classroom yard. For three days he watches and documents the LACK of birds at his feeder, to the teasing of his classmates. When the science-fair judges visit the class, he shows them his project, explains that he is still waiting for birds to come and feed. He is as surprised as his classmates with the judges choice for the Stick-With-It prize!

Why I like this book:

Many children struggle at school, like Otis, with choosing a topic for many subjects. And many children will relate to school work not turning out as planned. This story affirms both the importance of perseverance in science and life, and the value of detailed  observations. The dialogues between classmates, and between students and the teacher, are very authentic.  The brightly colored, gouache illustrations show classroom scenes of kids very focused on their projects, and cool details make for some very familiar classroom scenes. I, of course also like the fact that Otis chooses a project related to nature!


The final page offers a list of science project ideas and on which pages to find them. A great book for sharing with students, both as a selection for science fair ideas and for skills such as observation, kindness, appreciating differences and perseverance.

3rd Grade Science Fair Project Ideas

4th Grade Science Fair Project Ideas

5th Grade Science Fair Project Ideas

Youtube video on making a bird feeder from old milk jug

Find out more about the author/illustrator on her website:

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

This entry was posted in Book Promotion and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to No fair Science Fair – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. This is an original pick. Never saw a PB on science fairs. I think most kids have trouble coming up with ideas. Great topic and activity.

  2. Laura Renauld says:

    Sounds like a very relevant classroom-themed book. Thanks!

  3. This is reminding me of al kinds of school events that I waited too long to prepare for! Will definitely be looking for this, thanks.

  4. I am Otis!!! I always had problems choosing. I never felt confident with making the decision. Still don’t!! I must find this book. Thanks, Joanna.

  5. this looks like a cool book – need to put it on my radar for “science fair season”!

  6. This will be a great pick to add to my list of science fair books for older readers. I’m so glad you chose this one. Thanks.

  7. This sounds like a great book! I like his idea!

  8. What a great story, Joanna! I love that Otis is not the super great student…many kids will relate to him. So many times, a student just can’t focus on the lesson…or can’t decide what to do for a project. This story is very true and authentic. I’m glad there was a happy ending.;)

  9. Rhythm says:

    I’m so glad Otis wins a prize! That will encourage him to work harder next year! And I’m glad that his parents didn’t do the project for him! i see that a lot at school. Yay for Otis! This sounds like a great book! Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.