A high school chemistry teacher takes a quick spin past the periodic table of elements, but he’s not going to entice many passengers to come along for the ride.
Not to say he doesn’t try. With the same insouciance that lit up his text for Basher’s Periodic Table: Elements with Style! (2010)—but also covering some of the same territory—Dingle highlights the central roles elements play in nature (“I’m Gonna Make You a Star”), technology (“Fun with Fireworks!”) and our daily lives (“The Chemistry of Fizz-ics”). After opening with the full table and an explanation of its organization, though, he goes on to cover only a select few elements in any detail in the following single-topic spreads. Furthermore, teenage readers will likely find the breezy tone and loud colors babyish, but younger ones will bog down in the author’s relatively knotty explanations of molecular structure and bonding, formulas describing chemical changes, and specialized terminology that is briefly defined in context but not included in either the glossary or index. Moreover, he plays fast and loose with his facts—pine cones are not “tree seeds,” magnetic compasses do not point “due north,” carbon dioxide is not found just in certain layers of the atmosphere, and stridently claiming that glass is not a liquid isn’t the same as proving it.
The author’s evident enthusiasm for his subject provides plenty of revs, but the road’s so rocky that his audience(s) will bail. (bibliography) (Nonfiction. 11-14)