A mad-scientist manual that satisfies both the senses and the intellect, this is sure to be a popular, if somewhat sticky, title.
While not many of the projects in this book will necessarily be new to readers (or their adult minions), they are well known for a reason, and Brown rounds out the fun with his humorous presentation, as well as the gross factor. But this is much more than simply messy fun. Brown provides solid scientific explanations and introduces great vocabulary and concepts. A comprehensive safety section kicks off the book, then it’s on to the action. In “Slime and Goo,” readers are introduced to the tactile wonders that can be created with cornstarch, Borax and white glue. “Totally Gross” allows children to explore their more mature sides with fake vomit, snot and blood. Baking soda, vinegar, Pop Rocks, Alka-seltzer, soda and Mentos are the featured ingredients in “That’s Gas-tastic!,” while “Crazy Colors” might entail a trip to the store for iodine and red cabbage (and perhaps a re-supply of food coloring). “Incredible and Edible” lets kids explore the chemistry that allows cakes to rise, cucumbers to pickle and Jell-O to glow. Finally, with his “Create Your Own Concoctions” chapter, Brown encourages readers to mix up their own recipes based on the rules within his seven challenges. Owsley’s cartoon illustrations add more humor to the text, as well as helping children with the steps of the experiments.
Budding scientists and mess-makers alike are sure to concoct lots of fun. (Nonfiction. 7-14)