NONFICTION

The Kitchen Pantry ­Scientist: Chemistry for Kids: Homemade Science Experiments and Activities Inspired by Awesome Chemists, Past and Present

Quarto/Quarry. (The Kitchen Pantry Scientist’s Guides). May 2020. 128p. pap. $19.99. ISBN 9781631598302.
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Gr 3-8–Heinecke offers a hybrid nonfiction text for middle grade readers as well as extensive parental support for dynamic at-home experiments. The biographies of 25 role models of the chemistry community, past and present, are organized in chronological order of the chemists’ birth year, showing a progression of key scientific discoveries and changes. Heinecke effectively outlines the cultural effects of these chemistry concepts. Each chemist’s life story is constructed through a factual presentation of personal events and an explanation of the inspiration behind their pursuit or discovery. The text takes care to detail the relevant historical and cultural context. Pastel-colored portraits spotlight the chemists, and photographs complement the biographical content. Features such as “The Story Behind the Chemistry” supplement each experiment. A glossary, an index, and a materials resource page support readers’ understanding of the scientific concepts and terminology presented throughout the text. The multistep lab instructions are aided by photographed figures showing the steps in action, but adult supervision and assistance are required.
VERDICT This bright, engaging text provides young middle school readers with the inspiration and means to conduct enlightening at-home experiments. Detailed biographies of notable chemists, simple yet purposeful explanations, and visual aids enhance this well-rounded guide that demonstrates important chemistry concepts. Readers are sure to experience wondrous results in their own kitchens.

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