ForeWord Reviews

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Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes

Unforgettable Experiments That Make Science Fun

Foreword Review — Sept / Oct 2010

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.

Penny Hastings