Title: Let’s Learn About CHEMISTRY
Author: Stephanie Ryan, PhD
Illustrator: Christine Cagara
Genre: Children’s picture book
Book format: Board book (version reviewed: pre-release digital)
Sweet Strawberries: Sweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet Strawberry

Description: A message from Stephanie:
This book is inspired by my son playing a comparison game and my love of chemistry.  It’s designed to introduce young scientists to key concepts and vocabulary using everyday objects.  Encourage children to play and read together with you.  Keep it fun and incorporate their answers into your reading.  Let’s learn about chemistry together!

*Free digital copy provided  for review…

Review:  This is a fun and interesting book which aims to teach children basic chemistry concepts from a very young age. ‘Let’s Learn Chemistry’ is a board book that’s filled with lots of colourful illustrations and text and although I have only had the chance to see this in a digital format (so I can’t comment on the physical quality) I do like the overall look and subject matter.

Let's Learn About Chemistry book page image one
Double page image from digital copy ©The Strawberry Post

I don’t remember ever learning anything to do with chemistry until I was older and already at school for some time, so when I was given the chance at reading this book I was excited to see how it could teach children basic chemistry ideas at such a young age.  At the start of the book there is a bit of an introduction to the characters and then the book follows the same basic pattern with each double page being about a different aspect of chemistry such as: types of change, solids and liquids, mixtures, macro and micro, etc., and it asks children to guess which of the four items shown on the left is different from the others.  A short but easy to understand explanation of why it’s different is then shown on the next page.

I like the simple way that this book approaches these chemistry subjects, guessing what is different is something children can easily do, and overall the book does a good job of explaining these making it generally easy to understand.  However, the fact that rather than giving children four items to look at and asking them to guess what’s different, the difference is already printed underneath the items, making it obvious which of the four is different when you just look at the page, which I find is a bit of a shame.  For example, on the first of these page, ‘Types of change’ three of the four pictures are labelled ‘physical’ with the last item labelled ‘chemical’. This makes it easy for children to see which is the diferent one without needing to guess, which is a shame as I think it would be more fun to guess first without being told.  I also think the age this book is aimed at can be confusing.  The book is a board book and says it’s for ages 0+ but I’m not sure if all children will be able to grasp and understand this book at such a young age (especially as the only books I was looking at from that age were ABC and counting books) so I’d say it probably depends on the individual child.

The illustrations are good, very colourful and clear to see. I do like the way that these four children look, their expressions are fun, I love the way they pose on the different pages, interacting with some of the objects shown, and I do really like the general fun and colourful look to the book as a whole, with the colourful backgrounds to each double page and the fact that the children in the book are talking to us via speech bubbles throughout. I also like the way that important chemistry words like ‘gas’, ‘soluble’, ‘microscopic’, etc. are all in a brighter colour to the rest of the text, making them stand out and the way that some of these more complicated words are visually broken down into pieces too, makes them look and feel easier to read, giving the whole book an easy to read feel, and the whole idea of learning chemistry less daunting.

In general I do like this book and what it is trying to do.  I don’t remember there being any books that really tried to teach kids even basic chemistry when I was young, and it’s a subject that a lot of children struggle with in later life at school.  So I really like the idea of teaching kids about chemistry from a very young age.  This is a great book, and the fact that chemistry can be something as simple as guessing what’s different, makes the whole idea of learning chemistry feel fun and exciting, and also making it an approachable subject for the adults/parents who are reading with the children, who themselves might not feel confident about their own chemistry knowledge.

Let's Learn About Chemistry book page image two
Double page image from digital copy ©The Strawberry Post

Overall I do like this book and do think a lot of children and adults will enjoy reading this together.  It does make chemistry feel like an approachable subject and although I do think a few things could have been changed to make the book even better (such as descriptions under each of the things that could be different, rather than just the answers, and answers to which is different on another page) it’s still a great book and I one do think is worth reading.

*Let’s Learn About CHEMISTRY is released on 2nd June 2020!

What do you think of this book?   Do you like the idea of getting kids excited and understanding about chemistry at a young age?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂