Crazy Concoctions book cover image

Crazy Concoctions

  • 1495

By: Jordan D. Brown / Illustrated by: Anthony Owsley


Making a mess is generally frowned upon, but if you are learning important scientific principles and creating cool science experiments, then the mess will have to be excused. Within the pages of this diabolically genius book is a collection of experiments that kids can do at home.* They may make a mess, but they are fun, easy, and educational.

Test Newton’s theories about viscosity by making Gooey Glop. (Newton thought that liquids maintain the same viscosity no matter how much pressure is applied to them. Not so with Gooey Glop.) Learn all about the states of matter and make some Ooze (or polymer), Sculpting Slime, and more (including fake puke!). You’ll learn about great inventions throughout history that were stumbled upon by mistake, and scientists who tinkered and played in their kitchens all the way to the bank.

Amazing concoctions, fun experiments, kooky science—it’s all in one book, and kids will go mad for it!

* While these experiments are safe, when playing in the kitchen it is always smart to have a parent or guardian present.


Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Jordan D. Brown, author

Jordan D. Brown has written award-winning books, articles, and websites for children, teachers, and parents. His clients include Scholastic, Sesame Workshop, TIME for Kids, and Thirteen/WNET. His nonfiction work includes Robo World, a biography of a robot designer (Joseph Henry Press); his children's fiction includes Just Kidding! and Animal E.R.

Read more about Jordan.

Anthony Owsley, illustrator

Read more about Anthony.

Editorial Reviews:

Kirkus Reviews

A mad-scientist manual that satisfies both the senses and the intellect, this is sure to be a popular, if somewhat sticky, title.

While not many of the projects in this book will necessarily be new to readers (or their adult minions), they are well known for a reason, and Brown rounds out the fun with his humorous presentation, as well as the gross factor. But this is much more than simply messy fun. Brown provides solid scientific explanations and introduces great vocabulary and concepts. A comprehensive safety section kicks off the book, then it's on to the action. In "Slime and Goo," readers are introduced to the tactile wonders that can be created with cornstarch, Borax and white glue. "Totally Gross" allows children to explore their more mature sides with fake vomit, snot and blood. Baking soda, vinegar, Pop Rocks, Alka-seltzer, soda and Mentos are the featured ingredients in "That's Gas-tastic!," while "Crazy Colors" might entail a trip to the store for iodine and red cabbage (and perhaps a re-supply of food coloring). "Incredible and Edible" lets kids explore the chemistry that allows cakes to rise, cucumbers to pickle and Jell-O to glow. Finally, with his "Create Your Own Concoctions" chapter, Brown encourages readers to mix up their own recipes based on the rules within his seven challenges. Owsley's cartoon illustrations add more humor to the text, as well as helping children with the steps of the experiments.

Budding scientists and mess-makers alike are sure to concoct lots of fun.


Providing invaluable guidance for any young experimenter aiming to become a "Wizard of Ooze," science educator Brown offers instructions for about two dozen kitchen chemistry concoctions, from "bogus barf" and various sorts of glop to homemade pickles and Jell-O that glows eerily in black light. Along with a continual emphasis on careful preparation and safety, he clearly explains the physical and chemical processes that each project illustrates, introduces such phenomena as polymers and "non-Newtonian" fluids, and adds historical sidebars with headers like "Oops! Accidents in Chemistry." Capped by a set of terrific general challenges, such as making something that looks disgusting but smells nice, and festooned with entertainingly silly cartoon illustrations and interpolations from supposed ex-cowriter Dr. Viskus von Fickleschmutz ("If at first you don't succeed, don't skydive"), this is hard science with a smile or, more accurately, maniacal laughter.

School Library Journal

Following a thorough discussion of safety, this book introduces budding scientists to a host of gross and gooey projects. A final chapter encourages them to create their own concoctions. Brown writes in an engaging, conversational style that is full of silly humor. A running gag is that Dr. Viskus Fickleschmutz was originally hired as a coauthor and, while his services were no longer needed, he somehow managed to add his thoughts (and artistic touches) to the book. In general, the experiments are familiar, such as making glop with cornstarch and water and making raisins swim using soda. Each activity has a "Stuff You Need" box; detailed, numbered steps; and a concluding "Hmmm… What's Going On?" section that explains the science behind the project. A specific icon indicates an activity that requires "an adult minion," and boxed areas are used to highlight cool facts and key individuals. Cartoon illustrations demonstrate concepts and add humor. A fun addition.

Science magazine

Exclamations such as "Cool!" "Gross!" and "Wow!" are sure to be heard coming from young experimenters exploring this book of kitchen chemistry. Brown provides six chapters of recipes to make things such as slime and fake blood, tells how to generate gas explosions, and encourages readers to try some of their own concoctions. Science lessons abound among the recipes. Educational snippets follow each experiment, sometimes building on unlikely hooks such as the explanation of polymers (relevant to gelatin) after the recipe to make "pretend puke." On occasion, the author tosses in history lessons, explaining contributions from well-known scientists (e.g., Dmitri Mendeleev and Robert Boyle) as well as less-familiar ones (e.g., James Wright and William A. Mitchell, respectively the inventors of silly putty and pop rocks). The science fun comes sprinkled with intriguing facts and trivia as well as nonsensical handwritten annotation by a reportedly fired coauthor. While getting the nod from parents for its educational content along with the attention to safety and cleanup, the book will certainly appeal to kids.


Download the Cover


ISBN: 978-1-93614-051-0

E-book PDF
ISBN: 978-1-60734-093-5
For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

Ages: 8-12
Page count: 80
8 x 10

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Micro Mania
The Kids' Solar Energy Book
The Eat Your Homework series