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Children's LiteratureOn the 4th of July, displays of fireworks light up the skies all over our country. Viewers "ooh and aah" throughout, awaiting the grand finale that sometimes seems to have no end yet other times is far too short. Regardless, these displays are stunning, and the science behind their production is far more complex than one might think. The evolution of fireworks starts in this book with a discussion of playing with fire, the discovery of black powder, cannons, and mortars. Exploding shells, the colors and timing of the fireworks, and avoiding nasty surprises follow. The treat for readers is the number of science experiments that can be done with materials commonly found at home. Growing a crystal garden, and performing a flame test to see what colors certain metals give off when their compounds are heated are just two of them. See if you can visualize your favorite fireworks--could it be a Chrysanthemum with Titanium Salute or a Gold Brocaded Kamuro? Discover the names of many popular displays, as they are described and photographed at the end of the book. The author has written a number of books for children that aim to combine science and fun. This book is part of the "Where's the Science Here?" series that also includes the titles Junk Food, Sneakers, and On Stage and is highly recommended 2006, Millbrook Press, Ages 9 to 12.
—Cindy L. Carolan