Science Comics: The Periodic Table of Elements | Review
Science Comics: The Periodic Table of Elements: Understanding the Building Blocks of Everything
by Jon Chad
First Second, $21.99 (hardcover), $12.99 (paperback)
The Science Comics line continues with an introduction to the basics of chemistry.
Mel is anxious about her upcoming chemistry test on the elements, because pressure makes her nervous. She dreams herself into the Land of the Elements, where the elements take on the forms of various blobby creatures.
Her help is needed to defeat the Elemancer, who wants to destroy the world, and—what a coincidence!—her knowledge of the Periodic Table will save the day! But only after some struggles and a journey to recover The Guide to Fun Chemistry Experiments.
The fantasy adventure structure is immediately understandable and provides some reason to talk about the various groupings of elements; they’re treated as game levels to defeat. Each new one allows for Mel to give a lecture about the characteristics of the elements in each section.
At the same time, she is lectured about having confidence in herself as she goes. That’s an obvious plot and can become a bit repetitive. But the many examples of the various elements and their uses keep the book interesting.
Science Comics: The Periodic Table of Elements has a great blend of educational content and framing story. Perhaps that’s because Jon Chad has previously created the Science Comics about Volcanoes and The Solar System, so he knows what he’s doing.
Johanna Draper Carlson has been reviewing comics for over 20 years. She manages ComicsWorthReading.com, the longest-running independent review site online that covers all genres of comic books, graphic novels, and manga. She has an MA in popular culture, studying online fandom, and was previously, among many other things, webmaster for DC Comics. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
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