This collection of science tricks and experiments will have kids exploding things, launching them, or making them turn colors.
The activities included here feature such popular (and overdone) experiments as diet Coke and Mentos, baking soda–and-vinegar volcanoes, ooblek, elephant toothpaste, growing crystals, borax slime, and dissolving an egg’s shell. Mixed in with these are a few relatively dangerous ones: heating, cooling, and cracking glass marbles; making a teeter-totter of a candle burning at both ends; microwaving a grape to make a fireball; and making rockets of tea bags and matches. (There is a note about adult supervision, and there are also symbols delineating each experiment’s difficulty, messiness, explosiveness, etc.) Many directions are sorely in need of illustrated steps—words alone are not enough, and Faas’ illustrations are purely humorous. Several spreads are not arranged in linear fashion, so the “What You Need” boxes (which already tend to get lost on the page) may be after the “What Do You Do?” or the “Why Does It Work?” may come first, ruining surprise. Many of these explanations are rudimentary, incomplete, and/or unsatisfying: “The vinegar and baking soda combine to form carbon dioxide, which makes everything fizz and foam.” Readers will also regret the sprinkling of typos.
Goosens admits that all the activities in the book have been described and/or done on the Internet and includes a list of websites; young experimenters would do better to turn there first. (Nonfiction. 6-12)