Elements are grouped partly by what they do or do not do. In this installment of the “Why Chemistry Matters” series, we look at non-metals that are defined partly by a negative. They are not conductors. They are not magnetic. They are not shiny when polished. This is just the categorizing process, but non-metals are important to our everyday existence. Using one two-page spread to explore important components of the non-metal group, Montgomerie addresses halogens, oxygen, sulfur, nitrogen, phosphorus, carbon, and hydrogen. Each of these topics includes a discussion of the atomic structure as well as the uses of the element. In the next section, called oil and fuel, we learn about hydrocarbons and how they make up fuel, plastics, and painkillers, as well as many other things. 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. 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.