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A Question of Chemistry


Today’s book is reviewed by Debbie Glade who never tires of reading terrific science books for kids.

Why is Milk White? & 200 Other Curious Chemistry Questions ($14.95, Chicago Review Press, Ages 9 and up) is quite a sophisticated science book for kids, educating readers about the basic chemistry of products we use every day as well as the chemistry of people, animals and plants. The questions were written by 11-year-old Alexa Coelho, and the answers were written by her neighbor, a chemist and author, Simon Quellen Field.

The first question that caught my eye in Why is Milk White was “Why does Benedryl make you tired?” Being a major allergy-sufferer myself and frequently relying on Benedryl to get me through countless nights during hay fever season, I was fascinated to read about how this drug actually works and why it makes me so darn sleepy.

Ten chapters cover the topics of: 1)People and Animals; 2)Plants; 3)Household Chemistry; 4)Health and Safety; 5)Things That Catch Fire or Go Bang; 6)Things that Stink; 7) Color; 8) Chemistry in the World; 9) Chemists; and 10)Food. Under each topic is a list of fascinating questions. There is no index in the back of the book so readers must thumb through sections if they are searching for specific information.

Woven throughout the chapters are some really cool chemistry projects budding scientists can do at home, such as making oxygen and hollowing out pennies. Some of these experiments require adult supervision.

What I like about the book is that it was a collaboration between a curious child and a chemist, so it answers many questions that kids (and adults) all over the world ask. It is very well written meaning that children can understand the answers easily, without the author talking down to them.  Also, as I’ve said many times before, there is a serious shortage of scientists in our country, so we cannot have too many great science books for young readers. I can seriously see how this book could inspire a young reader to get interested in a career as a chemist.

As far as the answer to the question, “Why is milk white?” check out page 131 of the book yourself. If you’re as curious as I was to find out the answer to this question, let me give you a hint; it has something to do with light.

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Time For Kids: Big Book of Science Experiments, A Review & Giveaway

Time For Kids: Big Book of Science Experiments ($17.95, Time Home Entertainment, ages 8-12 ) by the editors of Time For Kids magazine is reviewed by Ronna Mandel. Click here to check out their wonderful website and read on to learn more about the giveaway!

This terrific hands-on book with more than 100 cool experiments for kids will occupy and educate your budding scientist or inventor while answering many questions you as parents may have pondered, too. Before you read any further, it’s important to know that all experiments and activities in this book require adult supervision so carve out some time for your child before you play Mad Scientist. Additionally, Good Reads With Ronna will be giving away one copy of this book in a random drawing.  Please see below for giveaway details and rules.

The contents page breaks down the experiments into four sections: Earth Science, Life Science, Physical Science, and Technology and Engineering. There’s also a very helpful section called Science Fair Success Secrets with tips on how to present your projects and improve your prospects with a Science Fair judge. And I’m the first person to say all’s fair in love and Science Fairs! As a parent, what I especially appreciated was the key indicating whether an experiment could be performed: in less than one hour (a green test tube); in a matter of hours (a yellow flask); or would take more than a day to complete (a red beaker).

In addition, another plus for this book is that before each experiment, there’s an explanation of the science behind it so a child can understand what he/she is doing and why. Convenient You Will Need boxes list items to have on hand before attempting any experiment and easy-to-understand, step-by-step instructions put success in reach of all who try. The 192 pages of  Time For Kids: Big Book of Science Experiments are packed with colorful artwork and photographs and contains a wide range of experiments that you can return to as your child gets older and more experienced. My 10-year-old son learned a lot from the Types of Bridges explanation in the Engineering section, but everyone will have their own favorite topic to tackle. Into understanding family resemblance, mass matters, turbine power, patterns, kitchen mold, magnet magic or best of all, explosions? It’s all there for you to explore and enjoy. Prepare to have a blast, or two!


TO ENTER – We are giving away one (1) copy of The Time For Kids: Big Book of Science Experiments book This giveaway ends at midnight on Monday, Feb. 27th, 2012 with one (1) winner selected on Tuesday, Feb. 28th. Winner will be notified by email so be sure to include your name, address, (no P.O. Boxes please) and phone number in an email to Please write Time For Kids Science Giveaway in the subject line. For a chance to be the winner of one copy of the book, please leave a comment on the blog and also LIKE Good Reads With Ronna on Facebook. If you don’t provide an email where you can be contacted your chance to win is forfeited.

This giveaway will run through midnight on Feb. 24,  2012 (PST). Winner will be chosen using from all valid entries and notified via email. Winner will have 48 hours to contact us at before another winner is chosen. Giveaway is open to U.S. (18+) residents only.

Good Reads With Ronna did not receive monetary compensation for these reviews.  One (1) giveaway item worth a total value of  $17.95 will be provided by Good Reads With Ronna. 
 The review is in our own words and is our opinion. Your opinions may differ.

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