Review Blog

Oct 30 2014

A beginner's guide to the periodic table by Gill Arbuthnott

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Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781472908858
(Age: 10+) Recommended. Non fiction, Science, Periodic table. From atoms and neutrons to elements, the big bang and all things between, this detailed book gives all ninety two elements a place. With all of them listed along with their name, symbol and atomic wight, children will be able to use this as a research tool with ease. On each page are usually several elements listed with loads of interesting facts, plus some funny drawings illustrating the theme. One page that intrigued me was the page on Iron. This is spread over a double page, and includes not only its atomic number (26) and symbol (Fe) but also information about the Iron Age and how blacksmiths were considered almost magical as they could smelt iron out of rock. Also on the page is a funny account of King Arthur drawing the sword from the stone, and a paragraph about rust, and then blood. Did you know that iron is important in our blood, because it makes sure the oxygen is carried by the blood. It is all described on the page on iron. Similarly, the information about silver, atomic weight (47) and symbol (Ag) has a tale about how the expression silver lining of a cloud came about, as well as information about silver and mirrors. Or thalium, atomic number (81), symbol (Ti), once able to be purchased across the counter as a rat poison, was used to kill people, and Agatha Christie used it as a plot device in one of her books. A book to dip into and surprise people with your fount of knowledge or something to read when swatting for a test, or simply a research tool, then this book has a place in school libraries, classroom or home bookshelf. I enjoyed it - not something I'd expected to say with a book such as this.
Fran Knight

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