Like all the best teachers, Tran never loses sight of the basics but illustrates concepts in a way that makes them memorable, providing clear-cut definitions that will be a relief to readers who struggle with understanding challenging scientific information. For every process she analyzes, Tran includes the important terminology, alongside an abridged explanation and helpful connections to our daily lives, to ensure readers absorb the lesson: for example, when learning how sunscreen is made, readers will also discover how stabilisers “help bind the product together” and the different ways that mixing time can affect its consistency.
Educators will welcome the inspired examples Tran uses to demonstrate the chemical processes behind “some of the common things in everyday life,” like her analysis of making a light bulb—“timing is key!” when it comes to melting the glass, in order to achieve a perfectly shaped bulb. The illustrators, an Australian graphic design and illustration company, include entertaining graphics to depict Tran’s chemical processes, offering cartoonish representations of soap being made or showing how milk is transformed into a powder. Readers will appreciate the pleasures of the visuals, as well as Tran’s straightforward approach, which combine to make this instructive tool a fun way to master scientific concepts.
Takeaway: An entertaining and inviting explanation of chemical engineering processes behind everyday products.
Great for fans of: DK’s The Science Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained, Ainissa Ramirez’s The Alchemy of Us.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: C