The Periodic Table: Elements with Style

Do you find chemistry boring? Do you think that the Periodic Table is a strange kind of dining-room furniture, or that Molybdenum is a meaningless word that the smart kids use to confuse you? If so, The Periodic Table: Elements with Style is a perfect book for you. The book features brief descriptions of 54 of the chemical elements. The descriptions are organized by sections according to their positions on the Periodic Table, and have extremely cute drawings next to them of characters that represent the elements. It is a great book that every young teenager should read. It has a playful tone, with each page slightly different to reflect the personalities of the different elements as they write their “resumes”.

As I said earlier, The Periodic Table: Elements with Style has a playful tone. Each page is a different element’s resume. Gold, (atomic number 79, symbol Au) claims that he is “not the rarest or the most expensive element, but … the world’s most wanted.” Bismuth laments that “people tend to confuse me with tin or lead, which bugs me.” This makes the elements seem not like strange substances from chemistry class, but individuals with their own personalities and traits.

The book uses a bright, bold color scheme, with each color representing a group of elements on the Periodic Table. Each element has a “portrait” next to its description, done in a chibi manga style. (“Manga” is the Japanese style of cartooning, and “chibi” is a smaller, cuter version.) The drawings are designed to highlight various features of the elements, such as a small golden creature on a pedestal wearing a medallion for gold, or a balloon for helium. The book also has various facts about the elements in tables at the top and bottom of each page, and it features the entire Periodic Table on the first page and on an included poster.

This book focused well on its audience of young teens. It features vivid yet understandable vocabulary, and, of course, the chibi manga-style drawings. This could be used as a high-school prep course in chemistry, or just as interesting information. It does not try to cover all 109 elements; instead, it focuses on a select group of 54. It does not go into extreme detail or have lists of every single compound that a specific element can form, but it does provide all the basic (and most useful) facts.

The Periodic Table: Elements with Style is a very good book, with vivid colors and adorable drawings. Young teens everywhere should be forcing their librarians to stock it and their friends to read it.

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