Getting a Big Reaction
Created and illus. by Simon Basher, written by Dan Green
Kingfisher, July 2010
Ages 10 and up
“Welcome to the wonderful, wild, and sometimes wacky world of chemistry. Full of alchemy and mystery, it’s the oldest of all the sciences. Chemistry is the study of the stuff the world is made from—the physical and chemical properties of matter—and how it behaves in chemical reactions. This is the field that has given humankind a hundred thousand snazzy new materials, not to mention an understanding of the inner workings of life itself.”
This fact-filled, slightly irreverent book takes basic chemical terms and defines and explains them in a humorous way that is easy to understand. Using cartoony illustrations on one side of the spread and a variety of text styles on the other, including narrative information, bulleted points, and a small sidebar with a related fact, the book defines and explains terms used in chemistry. It’s organized by topics within chapters and starts off with an introduction to Antoine Lavosier and the basic states of matter and their actions. Chapter Eight concludes the book with the basics on the chemicals involved in life.
Back matter includes an index and glossary, with a chemistry poster that definitely cool for the middle grade ages. I see the kid who is fascinated with science picking up this small trim-sized book, reading it, and showing it to all his/her friends. It’s a great introduction to chemistry, which isn’t a typical middle school subject, yet opens the door to the process chemistry plays in the sciences taught in middle school.
I first saw a book in this series at TLA several years ago and was fascinated by the funny (and accurate) introduction to the periodic table. For any science lover, this series provides great information and brings a smile to the reader at the same time.
Perform one of these activities. Then research the science that causes the chemical reaction. Write an explanation about how and why it works that way.
This site has experiments you can do with things from the kitchen.
National Science Standard: properties and changes in properties in matter
Book provided by Blue Media and Kingfisher/MacMillan