Children's Literature - Barbara Wheatley
"The Elements" books look at the most important chemical elements and explain their characteristics, reactions, and importance in everyday life. Each thirty-two-page book in this series includes a table of contents, an index, and a glossary. The text is complemented by black-and-white and color photographs, drawings, and diagrams, and sidebars that contain pertinent facts. A two-page periodic table is included in each book with a final paragraph explaining the element's significance in the table. Bromine is extremely dangerous to humans in all states of matter. When breathed as a gas it can damage the throat and lungs; if it touches the skin, it causes blisters and burns; and if ingested it can cause nerve and brain damage. Bromine cannot be found in nature as a pure element since it easily bonds to other elements and creates bromine minerals such as salts. The Dead Sea contains one of the largest concentrations of these bromine minerals on the earth. Bromine is most widely used today as a fire retardant in items such as clothing or camping equipment and in fighting fires. The book contains a wealth of information about the element, and the arrangement of the material is colorful and well organized. A drawback for learners is that the key words in the text are not in any special font to differentiate them from the surrounding text. There is also no pronunciation key for these scientific words in the text or glossary, which would certainly add to the value of the book. The text does contain definitions in context for many of these words. This would be a great addition to a library, especially a middle or high school library. Reviewer: Barbara Wheatley
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8- Each of these works provides a comprehensive, yet easy-to-read overview for its particular chemical element or series (as in Lanthanides ). The explanations are succinct and clear, without being oversimplified, and the layout is attractive. Diagrams and photographs complement the text on every page. "Did You Know?" fact boxes and brief biographical sketches of key individuals are highlighted in boxed areas. In each book, the contents cover the element's history; where it is found; how it is extracted, purified, and used; and its chemical reactions. Lanthanides addresses the 15 metal elements in the series and includes a chapter devoted to lights, color, and lasers. Cadmium and Bromine include chapters about the element's relationship to human health. Zirconium details the substance's importance in gemology, as well as its use in dating certain rocks and materials. The explanations and visuals provided in each text for specific chemical reactions are especially helpful. Each book has a spread devoted to the periodic table and each element's particular role in it. These texts will provide thorough overviews for reports, and will be useful additions, especially for libraries that own other titles in the series. However, the visuals are stronger in the "Understanding the Elements of the Periodic Table" series (Rosen).-Maren Ostergard, King County Library System, Issaquah, WA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.