The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Rivalry, Adventure, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements (Young Readers Edition)

336p. bibliog. chart. glossary. index. Little, Brown. Apr. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316388283.
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.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing