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A young readers edition of the New York Times bestseller The Disappearing Spoon, chronicling the extraordinary stories behind one of the greatest scientific tools in existence: the periodic table.
Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? How did radium (Ra, 88) nearly ruin Marie Curie's reputation? And why did tellurium (Te, 52) lead to the most bizarre gold rush in history?
The periodic table is a crowning scientific achievement, but it's also a treasure trove of adventure, greed, betrayal, and obsession. The fascinating tales in The Disappearing Spoon follow elements on the table as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, conflict, the arts, medicine, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them.
Adapted for a middle grade audience, the young readers edition of The Disappearing Spoon offers the material in a simple, easy-to-follow format, with approximately 20 line drawings and sidebars throughout. Students, teachers, and burgeoning science buffs will love learning about the history behind the chemistry.
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Sam Kean is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Disappearing Spoon and The Violinist's Thumb and The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Mental Floss, Slate, and New Scientist, and has been featured on NPR's "Radiolab" and "All Things Considered."From School Library Journal:
Gr 5–8—One may not think that a book about the periodic table will convey a great deal about counterfeiting, but such is the beauty of this title. It's not just about the elements. Rather, it rolls history and science and fascinating anecdotes into one volume. Adapted from his New York Times best seller of the same name, award-winning science writer Kean has boiled down his original work to about half the size (no Bunsen burner necessary), making it ideal for young readers. In doing so, he has managed to maintain his voice and keep the text stimulating. Kean uses the periodic table as a starting point to engage readers in history lessons, etymology, mythology, literature (Did you know Mark Twain wrote a short story based on some elements?), psychology, and more. The book is filled with fun facts and thought-provoking stories, such as how tin's properties may have affected a fatal Antarctic expedition and how an enterprising Boy Scout tried to build a nuclear reactor. The book is divided into four parts which are further distilled into chapters, enhancing its readability. The writing style is conversational and never dry. Several sidebars are sprinkled throughout that provide more information on some subjects. VERDICT An excellent purchase for libraries that want to liven up their science sections.—Marie Drucker, Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library, NY
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