We’ve all heard the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words but when it comes to chemistry a cartoon is worth ten thousand words and more. The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry by Larry Gonick and Craig Criddle will have you seeing complex ideas in chemistry such as ionic, metallic, and covalent bonding in a whole new way. The authors’ fresh, interesting, and imaginative presentation of elemental chemistry concepts will make you laugh and enjoy the process of learning like never before. The illustrations help the reader visualize and understand the fundamentals and the complexities of chemistry in a way that traditional textbook formats simply cannot. The humor is catchy and fun and enlivens what can be for some a very dry and technical topic. Chemistry enthusiasts will enjoy this book for its unique and intelligent illustrations and engaging insights on familiar topics. The book begins with a skillful presentation of the history and study of chemistry. Gonick and Criddle begin by introducing the reader to the major historical figures in chemistry such as Democritus, Aristotle, Priestley, Lavoisier, and Mendeleev in a novel and memorable way. The first chapter will stimulate your prior knowledge by jostling your neurons into recalling fundamental science concepts and laws such as the law of conservation of matter and the basics of atoms and elements in a way that will also stimulate your funny bone. The facts and basics of chemistry come alive with keen, concise interpretations of historical events. The chapter entitled Matter Becomes Electric will have you recalling Benjamin Franklin and his contribution to the discoveries of the properties of electrons in a shockingly clever way. This chapter will also help you conceptualize the dual nature of electrons and electron configurations or orbitals. Gonick’s novel and pioneering interpretation of the periodic table with its looping format clarifies and solidifies the relationship between the number of columns and the number of valence electrons in a way that is much easier to comprehend than the traditional format. Chapter three entitled Togetherness illuminates the topic of chemical bonding with the help of illustrations of spark plug-like robots and furry troll-like creations. These characters and their interactions shed new light on the processes of ionic, metallic and chemical bonding and polarity. Chemical reactions and what to do if you find yourself stranded on a desert island are covered in depth in chapter four. Combustion, combination, and decomposition reactions come to life with Gonick’s renderings and discussion on reactants and reaction products. Balancing equations and the process of finding coefficients becomes comprehensible with step by step directions accompanied by tables and practice examples. The book goes on to cover heat of reaction, states of matter, solutions, reaction rates and equilibrium, acid basics, chemical thermodynamics, electrochemistry , organic chemistry and even throws in a bonus section on using logarithms. These topics are covered in a comprehensive and lighthearted way so that reading it will be a pleasurable experience. This book is an excellent read that can be used to review prior knowledge or it can be used to introduce chemistry to beginners. For me this book changed the way my students and I approached the subject of chemistry. Gonick and Criddle present the major precepts of chemistry in such a way that even reluctant learners will give this subject a chance. Last year and the year before that I was assigned to teach eighth grade physical science to a small group of reluctant learners. They were great kids but really seemed at first to have little interest in science. I really began to worry about how I could reach them and get them excited about what they were learning. When we covered topics such as atoms, elements, states of matter, the periodic table and the history of the major contributors to chemistry their eyes would gloss over and they’d alternatively yawn or fidget. I knew that they would never understand the concepts if I continued to present the information with their current textbook. I was fretting about how awful the year would be if we continued down this path. Serendipity intervened on almost the same day when I received a small shipment of The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry. I read the book myself and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I then linked material in The Cartoon Guide to the chapters of our traditional text that we had already covered. The students’ interest was sparked and we continued our study of chemistry fundamentals from thereon without any glossy eyed, yawning students. The students even decided to write their own “All You Need to Know about Chemistry “book. We devised a system where we would skim the material in the traditional text and then read the corresponding section in the Cartoon Guide. We would discuss the illustrations and I would write the main idea or concept on the board. The students would then copy the concept from the board and then rewrite it in their own words. The students would then illustrate the concept in a way that they thought would help people understand what they were trying to communicate. We continued covering the topic this way with lab activities correlated to each chapter. When the unit was finished, the students had a great book that they created themselves. The eighth -graders then shared their book and what they learned about chemistry with a class of fifth grade students. Needless to say, these students could no longer be classified as reluctant learners. In fact, with the help of Gonick and Criddles’ Cartoon Guide to Chemistry these students became enthusiastic learners and I became one relieved teacher. So, I wholeheartedly recommend this creative book as I am certain that it will engage you and your students in chemistry in a way that is memorable and lasting. And although the manner of presentation is light and playful, this book has all of the substance, relevance, and importance of a traditional chemistry text. Chemistry beginners will appreciate the cartoon drawings which help to create an understanding of the ethereal and unseen processes that occur at the atomic level. Experienced high school and even college level students and instructors will enjoy it as well for the humorous insights and fresh take on traditional concepts.