The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Elements by Lisa Congdon

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Elements by Lisa Congdon


As a homeschool parent, I wondered how on earth to bring the periodic table to life with my middle schoolers. Enter Lisa Congdon’s brilliant The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Elements. Enamored of her Creative Bug art classes (which every homeschool parent of elementary-age kiddos should check out!), I stumbled upon this book on Chronicle’s website + purchased it immediately. Congdon’s quick wit + lively artist’s POV make this book sparkle. I enjoyed simply flipping through the pages. And as you can see from the picture above, our copy has been well used.

Written in bite-sized portions – literally one page for most elements – The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Elements goes through each element in numerical order, offering trivia points + a silly fact for each. Congdon writes with ease about the uses for each element, where we found it + why we should generally care. While I enjoyed learning about the periodic table in high school + college chemistry, the simple facts interlace each element’s necessity with our everyday lives, making chemistry come alive. We used this book as a read-aloud over the past school year, delighting in the often-whimsical illustrations (see the gold teeth in the image below, for funsies). Between the easygoing humor of the graphics + the fun trivia, my kids not only didn’t complain; they enjoyed it.

FROM THE Publisher… “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Elements leads young readers in an exploration of all 118 known elements.

Who is this book written for?

Kids interested in the periodic table of elements – or the parents who wish they were. This would also make a great coffee table book for anyone who enjoys science + trivia.