The basics of chemistry are presented in a Q-and-A picture-book format for elementary-age readers.
After a busy introductory spread explaining that chemistry is “all around us,” the text dives right into questions: “Why do atoms seem invisible? Are they just really good at playing hide-and-seek?” On the following spread, the answer—“Hide-and-seek?!?! No way!”—is followed by two substantial paragraphs about atoms as the building blocks of life, “like real-life connector blocks,” and the structure of atoms. This establishes a pattern in which silly questions are followed by lengthy answers; it goes on to describe how we tell different kinds of atoms apart, how molecules form, how positive and negative forces interact, how to recognize the three states of matter, and how chemical reactions work. Two final spreads use water and other common substances (such as coffee and ice cream) to illustrate how substances change states and instruct readers in how to read the periodic table of elements. The explanations throughout the book are uneven in clarity; the playful illustrations will entice some readers to return to the book until the concepts and vocabulary begin to sink in. Line drawings featuring diverse children and adults against graph-paper backgrounds present the information in multiple ways so that even readers who skip the text can glean some very basic ideas. A glossary, whose definitions may frustrate young readers with their dependence on other vocabulary words, rounds out the volume.
A serviceable early introduction. (Informational picture book. 8-12)