When I was a kid, I loved project books - oh, the possibilities! Well, here's a project book for your budding scientist or for kids on a rainy day. It's called CANDY EXPERIMENTS, written by Loralee Leavitt (Andrews McMeel Publishing). Did you know that some candy is covered in a glaze of shellac, wax, vegetable oil, or starch? There's an experiment to make them shed their skins. Or did you know that you can make a marshmallow sink in water? Yup.
     Most of the experiments are simple enough for kids to do on their own, while a few require adult supervision. Either way, I can't imagine a more interesting and fun way to play with your food!
     Today I'm interviewing Loralee about her book...

Q. Loralee, congratulations on the release of CANDY EXPERIMENTS! What inspired this fun book?
A. Several years ago, my four-year-old daughter asked if she could put some Nerds in water. At first I was reluctant, because it sounded messy and wasteful, but I let her try it. A few days later, she wanted to do it again, and I realized: she was ready to dissolve all of her Halloween candy! We covered the table with bowls of water and went to town. The candy was completely gone within days, and we started noticing crazy things, like the way M&M m's float in water, or wet lollipop sticks unroll.
     After that, we were on a roll. I drew on my own science background to create demonstrations, asked experts for other ideas, and watched what happened when the children just played around. We've gone through a lot of candy!

Q. CANDY EXPERIMENTS is a little outside my familiar genre of picture books. Who is the target market and what section will readers find it in their local bookstore?
A. I wrote CANDY EXPERIMENTS for a target audience of children ages 7-10. Kids of that age should be able to do the experiments (with parental help, of course) and also understand the science explanations. But it has a broader reach than that. Even toddlers love trying candy experiments, although they don't always understand the science, and older children love the fun tricks, like soaking gummi worms in water.
     Parents also appreciate CANDY EXPERIMENTS. With so many concerns these days about sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial dyes, and obesity, parents love having an alternate way to use candy. I've heard from parents of diabetics and dye-free kids who were excited to finally enjoy Halloween, and families all over American do candy experiments after Halloween to go through the excess trick-or-treat candy.
     Readers should be able to find CANDY EXPERIMENTS in the children's science section of their local bookstore.

Q. Did you and your family perform all of these candy experiments? Surely you have some stories to tell!?
A. We did perform all of these candy experiments, and many more. Many of our experiments came from accidental discoveries. When you put every kind of candy in water, or heat them, or smash them, you see crazy things.
     A lot of these experiments come directly from the way my children played with candy. For instance, my five-year-old son and his friend started sticking candy together to see if they could make it sink, which led to my Marshmallow Submarine experiment. I started doing the Sour Bubble Acid Test by dissolving sour candy in water and adding baking soda to make bubbles, but it got even better when a six-year-old boy dumped Pixy Stix into a bowl of baking soda water, making bubbling trails of candy color.

Q. Have any of the experiments led to - *ahem* - a sugar rush?
A. When we do candy experiments, I tell my children the candy isn't for eating, it's for experiments. Usually they start thinking of it as a toy instead of a treat, and happily destroy it all. When we're done, I throw the candy away. Technically it's still edible, but it's usually melted, smashed, dissolved, or full of baking soda, and doesn't look very appetizing anymore.

Q. Is this your first book? What was your path to publication?
A. This is my first trade book, but I've been writing for several years. I started out by writing magazine articles, first for local parenting publications, and later for children's magazines. Since then, I've written about candy experiments, gold panning, children doing amazing charity work, travel, saving money, and other topics for magazines including Cricket, Highlights, Mothering, and Scouting.
     Currently I'm working on an ebook about family car trips, because every time we take our kids on a long drive other parents ask us how we survive. I also have some novels on the back burner, and am collecting more candy science ideas.

Good luck Loralee and thanks for stopping by!

To learn more, visit the Candy Experiments website at

      One lucky commenter will win a signed/dedicated copy of CANDY EXPERIMENTS. Must live in the continental US to win. Review copy provided by the publisher, winning copy provided by the author.
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Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

What a fun concept, and a good interview! It makes me think that a fun young MG novel to read as a companion to this book would be CANDYMAKERS - read about kids making candy in a contest, and then do some experiments of your own! Will definitely get this one for my kid. Thanks to you both,

apple blossom said...

love children's books this sounds like a fun one to read thanks for chance to win a copy

Mary said...

I actually collect children's books, but I also love to do creative things with my grandchildren.

Geo Librarian said...

This would be a fun way to introduce science to my students.

Evelyn said...

I have great nieces and nephews who love experiments, so it'd be wonderful fun to share this book with them.