Understanding how the periodic table works means understanding the elements. Some of them behave like other ones. They are placed in a column. Some of them are similar in weight, those are placed in a row. We end up with a very logical table. Each element has a spot. Invented by Dmitri Mendeleev, the periodic table is one of the most important tools of chemistry. This book explains the periods, or rows, in the periodic table: “Each period contains the elements that have the same number of electron shells in their atoms.” We also look at groups, series, patterns, and radioactivity in the elements. Part of the “Why Chemistry Matters” series, Crabtree designers do a good job of complimenting abstract text with interesting and pertinent photos. These concepts are not easy to understand and they may need to be read several times before they sink in. However, each section is short enough that re-reading should not be a problem. While this is a good series to have available for elementary and middle school science, this book should be the first one read in the series. Back matter includes a glossary and index. Reviewer: Amy S. Hansen; Ages 8 to 12.
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—The chapters in this introduction to the periodic table of elements are brief, mostly two pages in length, with colorful photos and digitally rendered drawings on every page. However, despite the highly visual format, the writing is stiff at times, and some of the images function as filler. There are captions for the most part, but some of the pictures would benefit from a more detailed explanation. A couple of quizzes are included, one of which invites readers to match elements to their letter symbols. While the focus of this text is the periodic table, an actual image of it does not appear until almost halfway through the book. Readers wanting a visual introduction to the elements would be better served by Adrian Dingle's The Periodic Table: Elements with Style! (Kingfisher, 2010) or Theodore Gray's The Elements (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2010).—Maren Ostergard, King County Library System, Issaquah, WA