The Elements – Reviews of the book, cards and a calendar

The Elements; a Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe
By Theodore Gray and Nick Mann

Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers Inc. 2009
Reviewed by Monica Walmsley

The Elements is a well laid out, colourful, coffee-table-style book on the subject of the Periodic Table. The book begins with an introduction to the Periodic Table and how it got its shape. It very clearly explains the meanings of all the different aspects of elements so that the rest of the book makes sense. Then the bulk of the book is taken up with the elements themselves.

Each element has a double-page spread with an interesting picture and a couple of paragraphs about that element. It also shows the ‘Electron Order Filling’, the ‘Atomic Emission Spectrum’, the ‘State of Matter’, the Atomic weight, Density, Atomic radius and Crystal Structure, the Atomic symbol, Atomic number, name and examples of where it is to be found, as well as a small diagram on the upper right showing where it appears in the Periodic Table.

There is also an index at the back which makes it easy to look up different elements without having to know their Atomic number.

The Elements is the kind of book you can pick up with knowing a single thing about the Periodic Table and you can still understand it without feeling patronized. It is enjoyable to look through and you don’t need to be a chemist to have it make sense.  The pictures are bright and creative and the writing is easy to follow. If I had one complaint, I would say that the author is a bit opinionated and gives his opinion along with the facts. This is a fabulous book whether you’ve studied chemistry before or not.

Recommended for all ages; this is a great book to have on the family’s reference book shelf.


 The Photographic Card Deck of the Elements By Theodore Gray

Reviewed by Stephanie Walmsley

This set of cards is a companion to The Elements. Each card has an element photo on one side and information about the element on the reverse side. The cards have been described as, “the most detailed and beautiful set of reference cards ever produced on the subject of the periodic table”.

This is a great way to learn about the elements, one at a time.  You can make games, test each other, or display  one or two cards a week. The possibilities for enjoying using these cards and learning from them are endless.


The Elements Wall Calendar 2012   By Theodore Gray and Nick Mann

What a brilliant idea!  A wall calendar with these beautiful photos and information on the elements.  Just imagine – a whole year to learn more about the elements, in a slow and measured pace.  And it’s a fact that information taken in slowly over time is more likely to be retained than info which goes in on one day and is not used again for years.  And as an added bonus, there is a poster to go with the calendar. How cool is that?


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