Irene P. Reisinger aims to make learning chemistry fun and memorable in this fantasy tale of an inquisitive young boy’s adventures in Periodic Table Land.
Reisinger stumbled upon a new method for successfully teaching chemistry concepts to middle schoolers through storytelling. Her 18 years of classroom experience fine-tuned the method, resulting in a four-book series.
Book One, The Happy Atom Story, chronicles the adventures of an inquisitive boy named Guy who meets a talking wishing star and a kind chemistry professor who whisk him away to the magical Periodic Table Land. Here, the elements come alive to help Guy learn foundational chemistry concepts like matter vs. energy, atoms, pure elements, mixtures, identifying elements on the Periodic Table, and more. Reisinger sets the “ultimate goal” for Guy: to “understand the Periodic Table well enough [to] be able to draw diagrams of…atoms” called Bohr models.
The author begins with a brief introduction, her background and testimonials of students who have benefitted from her method. She claims the book is useful for parents, home school groups, special education teachers, chemistry teachers and more. That’s ultimately debatable, as the fantasy tale is hindered by her lack of fiction-writing skills, redundant passages and typographical errors.
Further, it’s doubtful many middle to high school students will wade through the elementary dialogue to glean desired concepts. For example, Guy says: “Oh yes, I really am ready to learn as much as I can about my world. I want to learn what this world is made of”— glaringly unnatural speech for older students. Conversely, younger children will likely lose interest in the terminology and lack of varied illustrations.
While it’s uncertain who the book will appeal to, Reisinger does provide valuable learning tools, especially her method for learning the first 20 elements and other shortcuts for retaining important information. Motivated students willing to overlook the storyline and focus on the concepts, will find a solid introduction to the foundation of chemistry.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.