Reviews for Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes : Unforgettable Experiments That Make Science Fun


Booklist Reviews 2010 December #1
Former elementary-school teacher Spangler has made a small empire out of finding the hands-on fun in science, with regular appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and his own extensive website, on which he markets educational toys and products. The creator of the Mentos Diet Coke geyser experiment that became a YouTube video sensation, Spangler uses cheap, everyday materials to invent entertaining, highly kid-appealing activities, many of which are collected in this volume. Heavily illustrated with color photos and described in funny, casual prose, the experiments will easily engage a young audience, and each is followed by a succinct explanation of the science concepts at play, from the potato launcher, which encourages kids to shoot spud pellets at close range as they learn about pressure and volume, to bouncing and folding eggs and soda-bottle lava lamps, which demonstrate chemical reactions and density. Serious safety cautions appear throughout the irreverent chapters, while "Take It Further" sections encourage fired-up lab partners to continue the activities. A boon for parents and teachers alike, this should find a large, enthusiastic audience. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

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BookPage Reviews 2010 October
Party ideas for kids

In Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes, author, educator and Emmy Award-winning TV science wizard Steve Spangler conjures new tricks for kids, kidders and kids at heart. He makes it easy to transform ordinary household stuff into extraordinary outcomes, most of which tend to "ooze, bubble, fizz, bounce and smoke," not to mention spew diet soda 12 feet into the air. Even the seemingly simple are fun: Who knew a hex nut could make a balloon scream? A few experiments are particularly suitable for Halloween parties, such as the gloriously gross cornstarch/borax goo (which made a kid lose his lunch at my daughter's fifth birthday party), the giant smoke rings and all activities involving dry ice. Spangler's fun-centric approach insists "it's not about the science, it's about the experience," but parents and teachers can be assured the science is solid; experiments are framed with easy-to-understand explanations and real-world applications.

 

POOHSTICKS 101

Turkish Delight & Treasure Hunts by Jane Brocket is a collection of recipes, activities and, as the author describes them, "'I want to do that!' moments" culled from beloved books like Winnie the Pooh, Mary Poppins, The Chronicles of Narnia and so on--books in which children always seem to be eating or doing "all sorts of marvelous things." Each marvelous thing gets a brief introduction to establish context, to remind us why these classics are so formative to our lives and to entice us to read classics we may have overlooked. Readers can now bake Ma's Hand-Sweetened Cornbread from Little House on the Prairie, whip up Enid Blyton cocoa, munch "Wind in the Willows River Picnic Cress Sandwiges" and try "Heidi's Grandfather's Simple Cheese and Bread Supper." We can also make a Borrowers house, try Alice in Wonderland croquet, learn poems by heart just like Anne of Green Gables and plant a Secret Garden. Aside from being a charming excuse to revisit favorite stories, Turkish Delight & Treasure Hunts is a ready-made opportunity to connect with young readers who "need to find out about the things children have always done [and] to make their own literary discoveries."

 

TOP PICK FOR LIFESTYLES

Even the healthiest-minded readers of Candy Construction by Sharon Bowers may want to rush out and buy ridiculously large amounts of candy for the children in their lives. My own whole-food, organic scruples have been chocolate-chipped away by this seductive volume. Why? Because these sweet creations are not just cute as a (candy) button and easy as (moon) pie, they are seriously fun to make. And I mean fun to make with kids, not merely for kids, because even though the end product might be fabulous, the real goal is in the messy, focused, cooperative and creative process. With a few building materials--frosting "glue," store-bought brownies, Rice Krispie treats and other no-bake structural elements--plus basic dollar-store candy, kids can make pirate ships, pyramids, steam trains, construction sites, fairy-tale castles, creepy critters, games and even jewelry, all 100% edible. Simple instructions and big color photos bring out the inner engineer in all of us. Perfect for a group activity at birthday or holiday parties, or for one of those days when folks are trapped indoors.

 

Copyright 2010 BookPage Reviews.

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ForeWord Magazine Reviews 2010 September/October
Floating ping-pong balls and flying toilet paper are just two of the 123 scientific experiments found in this enterprising book written for children of all ages! Author Steve Spangler is a modern-day "Mr. Wizard," a teacher of science who believes "It's not about the science…it's about the experience." Using everyday and inexpensive household stuff, like potatoes and plastic bottles, a bar of soap, nails, magnets, cornstarch, and liquid, future scientists can do experiments like "floating water," a "screaming balloon," a "bubbling lava bottle," and "giant smoke rings." Each experiment is done safely--there's a full page of safety instructions to learn before readers get started having the satisfaction of creating amazing concoctions like "quicksand goo" and "color changing milk." Each experiment has four sections titled: "Let's try it," in which step-by-step instructions are given; "Take it further," tips on making the experiment different or more complex; "What's going on here?" and "Real world application," which explain the scientific reasons the experiment succeeds and how to apply these scientific principles to real life. There is also a complete list of items needed. In "Taco Sauce Penny Cleaner," for instance, the list of materials needed includes dirty pennies, taco sauce, small plates, and masking tape--simple items, indeed, but items that readers will want to have on hand. Two hundred color photographs illustrate experiments in progress throughout the book. With great humor, the author titles one chapter, "Don't Try This at Home…Try It at a Friend's Home!" Some experiments warn about having a few paper towels at hand; others warn that parental supervision is advised. Spangler, a teacher and television personality, has appeared on Ellen (host Ellen Degeneres calls Spangler "the science guy") and the History Channel, as well as other programs. He believes that science is fun. This book of science tricks and try-it-at-home activities will encourage children and adults alike to have fun, too, and learn about science in a whole new way. 2010 ForeWord Reviews. All Rights Reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 December

Gr 4-9--Messy, daredevil, tongue-in-cheek, and definitely boy-friendly, this collection of science explorations will energize a boring afternoon or a routine science lesson. Grouped loosely under the headings "The Power of Air," "Kitchen Chemistry," "Dry Ice," "Gooey Wonders," and "Don't Try This at Home...Try It at a Friend's Home!" the experiments emphasize the fun before the facts and are arranged under the headings "Let's Try It," "Take It Further," "What's Going on Here?" and "Real-World Applications." Adult help will be necessary to guide elementary-aged children through the wordy instructions and the use of dry ice, power tools, and stoves. Sharp, full-color photos appear throughout, but they're not always informative. Adults dominate the images with an emphasis on the author's appearances on The Ellen Degeneres Show. Safety warnings are included at the front of the book, within experiments such as "Soup Souffl" or "Naked Eggs," and in the introduction to the "Dry Ice" section.--Carol S. Surges, McKinley Elementary School, Wauwatosa, WI

[Page 141]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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