The Disappearing Spoon: and other true tales of madness, love, and the history of the world from the periodic table of the elements

By Sam Kean

Have you ever wondered about how scientists could actually make discoveries about objects that they can’t even see? Or ever wonder whether science could ever be as exciting as sports? Or are you just curious about chemistry and elements in general? If you answered yes to any of those questions, the Disappearing Spoon is a book for you. Even if you didn’t answer yes, reading the book is still worth your time if you enjoy chemistry and dramatic scenes in history. The Disappearing spoon is a book about the history of the contents of the periodic table itself. The topics range from how the periodic table is structured the way it is today, to the history of any element. The book provides many interesting facts about the value and history of many elements, mentioning the name, periodic number, real world use, development, and its discovery. Furthermore, the Disappearing spoon also serves as a general overview of some concepts in chemistry, such as explaining the reactivity of elements in relation to its position on the periodic table. Other concepts mentioned and explained include radioactive decay, fission and fusion, and the invention of many scientific tools.

The disappearing spoon for me was an interesting book full of exciting facts. It provided some interest and had a good pacing and tone which made it sound a lot more adventurous and exciting compared to when learning about the same concepts in a classroom. It provides a greater understanding of chemistry in general and the periodic table. Though it didn’t really have a single point, it was a well written general summary of everything in the periodic table.

Staff Pick Timothy Fang, Member of the Orem Teen Library Council