Metals are dense. Metals are conductors. Metals can be polished. In this installment of the “Why Chemistry Matters” series, we look at what makes a metal. It is not as easy to define as it appears. There are several groups of metals including the alkaline earth metals, which do not usually look shiny or flexible in their natural states. Besides explaining different types of metal families, Montgomerie writes about corrosion, refining metals, precious metals, magnetism, and metalloids. Each section is a two-page spread. Some of the attributes of metal will seem abstract to a reader who has not touched a corroding penny, or felt the difference of polished and unpolished silver. However, the pictures are good and the writing is fairly short, so it could be read several times if necessary. Montgomerie also explains how metals are useful as conductors and how all of these metals work in our everyday lives. Crabtree designers do a good job of complimenting abstract text with interesting and pertinent photos. This is a good book to have available for elementary and middle school science. Back matter includes a glossary and index. Reviewer: Amy S. Hansen; Ages 8 to 12.