Unlike Cobb's previously collected science experiments, most of these are not edible. They are also more advanced and more systematically arranged, to constitute a hands-on introduction to chemistry--and a totally unintimidating one. As noted in the introduction, each topic she's taken up for experimentation builds on ideas introduced earlier. Connections are reinforced with unobstrusive recaps; and concepts, terms, and procedures interact smoothly as readers are guided through distillation and crystallization activities, reactions involving heat (combustion), and other procedures using electricity--before settling down with a chapter on ""The Language of Chemists."" By then, they are ready to appreciate the ""beauty"" of the periodic table, to toss about such terms as covalent and ionic bonds . . .and to apply their new understanding in the more sophisticated tests and chemical magic tricks that follow. Cobb makes it so easy to follow that readers may be surprised to realize how much they've learned. They will also finish it prepared to tackle the subject more seriously. As she concludes, ""You have barely scratched the surface.