This book introduces the readers to an overlook of the Periodic Table as it recounts many interesting stories of how the elements came to be and how they affected mankind throughout history. The Disappearing Spoon connects elements with politics, currency, mythology, medicine, lives, and more while reciting the making of Mendeleev’s periodic table. The book is made up of many different stories, each with its own separate setting. Some are about how the elements were made while others are about humans bicker about who discovered which elements and other chemical reactions. The book greatly portrays how humans learn more of their world as time goes on. The space for future scientific discoveries is vast.
The Disappearing Spoon is one of the funniest book I have ever read. It is impossible to put the book down when mad scientists are fighting for radioactive elements that people are consuming for pleasure. Although there is not a main character and a plot in this book, I quite enjoyed it. This book is like the little books that I read as a child, filled with many different stories. It is also filled with traits of humanity, like kindness and greed, hate and obsession, all for the elements and the scientific glory that comes with it. The Disappearing Spoon is very rewarding in many different ways, no matter if the reader is a nerd or not.
Non-fiction books are mostly boring, but Sam Kean manages to make the elements come to life by giving mind-blowing accounts of the history of science ever since the Big Bang. As the reader is enjoying the mini-stories of the past and progress through the book, they, without realizing it, can learn scientific knowledge, which they normally would not want to learn about. I can finally get smarter just by reading!
Reviewed by Eric Hu, Grade 7, Twin Hickory Area Library