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The Periodic Table Elements with Style - review

The Periodic Table, Elements with Style! Is a charming little book that serves as a nice chemistry introduction. The book is most appropriate for kids working at about a 4th grade level or higher. It's aimed at upper elementary to middle school kids, but would also make a handy reference guide or review for high schoolers who are not overly familiar with the periodic table.

This book is about 100 pages long. Each element has a first person description offered in a “my space” style narrative. Strontium, for instance says, “ I'm Scottish, named after the town of Strontian where I was discovered. You may see me as a shy, run-of-the-mill, silver-colored metal, but I've got a few surprises up my sleeve...” Magnesium brags, “ I'm sparky, and I always cause a reaction!” Barium's page declares, “...I'm a real rocker and more reactive than calcium.” These sometimes silly descriptions do provide useful information about the various elements, and make the task of memorization easier.

Accompanying cartoon type illustrations give a visual presence to each element. Gold resembles a ghost from the old Pac-Man game, standing high on a pedestal. Lead appears as a warrior dressed in Spartan style. My personal favorite is sulfur, who is quite absurdly shown as a cute little girl dressed in yellow! My seven year old daughter found the simply rendered drawings to be highly amusing and they helped her form an identity for each element.

The book is organized into sections about hydrogen, the alkali metals, the alkaline earth metals, the transition elements, the boron elements, the carbon elements, the nitrogen elements, the oxygen elements, the halogen elements, the noble gases, the lanthanides and actinides, and the transactinides. A handy glossary in the back explains terminology such as gamma ray, isotope, and catalyst. The bottom of each element's page contains facts about date of discovery or earliest known use, as well as density, melting point, and boiling point.

It's cute, it's clever, and very enticing to the youngster interested in science. A great resource!


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