This first installment in a picture book series introduces scientific concepts through the dreams of a chemistry-loving little girl.
Preschoolers and elementary school-age children are the target audience for this cheery volume, crafted around basic scientific principles, written by Boykin (The Atom: What Am I Really?, 2016), a member of the American Chemical Society’s Coaching Program. She works in the field of polymer chemistry and chemical engineering and also teaches her own series of children’s chemistry classes. The work, using a simple four-line rhyme pattern, comprises two short chapters book-ended by a “prologue” and “epilogue.” In the first chapter, the cautionary tale of “The Lazy Bee” offers an uncomplicated narrative explaining that bees collect nectar to make honey and fulfill different jobs within the hive. The chapter’s final stanza encourages kids to think of learning STEM subjects—science, technology, engineering, and math—as a pathway to discovery. “The Sunburn Snowman” takes children through the water cycle, from freeze to thaw to water vapor and rain, voiced by a friendly snowman with a notably sunny attitude about the process: “We have changed from solid to liquid / And then a liquid to a gas, / Until we drift down as new snowflakes / To play again with you at last.” The book begins and ends with a girl going to sleep and dreaming of “a wonderland / Of how and what things do,” reinforcing in words and in the use of a female character the idea that studying science, math, and chemistry is a rewarding pursuit for all children, not an intimidating one. The text is set within and underneath French’s colorful illustrations framed with “dream” clouds. While fairly standard in style, these images deliver such pleasant touches as a curling leaf-turned-lounge chair, and water droplets with snowman faces under jaunty caps. Boykin’s next installment in the series, Chemistry In My Dreams, Book 2: Man-Made Processes, is due out in 2017.
A modest, but engaging work provides children with tales of bees and the water cycle using bright colors and simple rhyming text.