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The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry Paperback – May 3, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Larry Gonick has been creating comics that explain math, history, science, and other big subjects for more than forty years. He has been a calculus instructor at Harvard (where he earned his BA and MA in mathematics) and a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT, and he is currently staff cartoonist for Muse magazine. He lives in San Francisco, California.



Craig Criddle is a professor of environmental engineering and science at Stanford University and has written numerous scientific papers.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Collins; 1st edition (January 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060936770
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060936778
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
For someone that is just learning about chemistry this book is excellant. It provides a whimiscal and fun overview of chemistry that makes learning chemistry interesting.

It also includes highlights of chemistry that illustrate how chemical principles were discovered.

And it also illustrates in an interesting manner the applications and importance of chemistry.

If you are about to take your first chemistry class or have never had a chemistry class, this book will be a good introduction to chemistry. Or if it has been awhile since you have had chemistry this book may be an interesting review.

Note: While interesting reading, this book would be too light to be used as a text book for a class. It makes an interesting supplement.
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Format: Paperback
I have been a fan of Larry Gonick`s work for years ever since I first stumbled onto his Cartoon Guide to Statistics. He covers a subject the way it should be covered-historically. Innovations in science and math have moved along together in a historical time line. It was this historical approach that made Carl Sagan's Cosmos series one of the greatest innovations in the effort to popularize science.

I have long said that we teach science backward. We still teach on a 19th Century model. We start with biology, then chemistry, and finally physics.

Even when I was in high school, I wished that I could take physics before chemistry. Before I was elected as a school board director, I was on our district's Gifted Advisory Council. I made the suggestion that we teach physics before chemistry and, then, biology last. I was immediately shot down by one of the other parents on the basis that sophomores do not have the math courses under their belts to tackle physics. So why not teach the math along with the science? Integrate it. (No, that would make it too relevant.)

I felt vindicated when a friend of mine reported that she attended a lecture by a Nobel laureate making the same assertion that I had been making for years-we teach science backwards. After all, the toughest course out there is biochemistry-at least that is what every med student I know has ever said. And biochemistry is the new frontier for blockbuster innovations-nano-technology not being the least of these frontiers.

Gonick underscores my assertion about teaching physics first, because in this book on chemistry, he introduces quantum mechanics, which is normally taught as physics, on page 28.
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Format: Paperback
I used this book in conjunction with a textbook in my general chemistry course over the summer. This book helped illustrate things left unclear in my textbook and give a better intuitive feel for what I was doing. On its own its probably not spectacular since there are gaps to be filled but as a supplement it is amazing.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first edition of "The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry" by Larry Gonick and Craig Criddle and was published in 2005. It is another of the series of Cartoon Guides which Larry Gonick has co-authored with scientists in the field of choice. Craig Criddle is a professor of environmental engineering and science at Stanford University.

The book has 12 chapters, and like the other guides it covers a history of the subject, as well as a good overview of the subject, and there is a lot to cover with Chemistry. From the early days of alchemy, through the discover of the atom, through reactions, states of matter, solutions, acids and bases, thermodynamics and electrochemistry and finishing up with a chapter on organic chemistry, Criddle and Gonick try to give a little taste of everything to the reader.

This book serves well as an introduction, overview, history of the subject, or a refresher. This guide works well when combined with the Physics and Genetics guide, as there are certainly areas of crossover between the books. Because of the wide variety of topics contained in this book, if you are using it as an introduction, you may want to break it apart and use it to introduce a few topics, then spend some more in depth time on those topics, before moving on to some more sections of this book.
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Format: Paperback
As someone looking for material to supplement high school chemistry textbooks that students may find informative, as well as entertaining, I found this book to be useful. Students were more apt to remember material read in this book, than when they read the material in their textbook. The graphics are well done and it is written with a sense of humor, which I find entertaining and my students did as well.

As a note of caution, this book is a good supplement, but I wouldn't replace a regular intro chem book with this... Also, the order material is presented here is probably different than your text so additional explanation / research may be needed to understand.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent illustration of the major principles of chemistry. Great for general chemistry students searching for an alternative way to learn the basic concepts.

I teach chemistry and highly recommend it for visual people struggling to picture some of the concepts or searching for a brush up review of chemistry.
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