Saturday 8 February 2014

How To Build A Human Body

How To Build A Human Body by Tom Jackson (Scholastic UK)
HB RRP $29.99
ISBN 978-1-407137-37-7
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

How to Build a Human Body is subtitled A Mind-Bogglingly Brilliant Body Book, and it is. Attractively laid out, with thick glossy pages built to withstand numerous page turnings, this book clearly and amusingly describes the body - how and why it works.

It is split into four sections, The Basics, The Organs, The Senses and Systems and has a helpful glossary –Cool Words – and index – both of which cover the book well without being overwhelming. This all helps to facilitate easy navigation of pages and subject matter. The index includes stuff kids love to look up such as Poo, Yuk! and Try This and the contents page is equally as enticing with headings to explore such as:

  • Confined to the cells, p.12
  • Take a Breath, p38
  • Hormone Soup, p76
  • Getting Sniffy, p64

The book has a chatty feel about it, as if the author is having a conversation with the reader. Its bright colourful illustrations bring out the humour and enhance the understanding of each body part being discussed. Fangs a Bunch heads a page filled with a giant set of teeth surrounding facts, explanations of the different types of teeth and a diagram of a tooth’s root system. Some of the information seems random – pirates biting gold in all the pirate movies – but these interesting facts always swing back to the point – the stuff in teeth that makes them so hard.

These great pictures and diagrams are also joined by boxes of information:

  • Superhuman – all about people who helped discover how the body works - for example James Watson and Francis Crick who found the double helix structure which helps with our understanding of DNA. 
  • Under the Skin – which looks at what is going on inside you - for example Feel the Burn explains why muscles feel tired after working out. 
  • Try This – things kids can do to get a concrete understanding of their body - such as A Bit of Cheek which shows readers how to look at their own cells under the microscope.

There is much to learn about the body and this book is a fun way to learn the facts. It would be   enjoyable to read from cover to cover, or to dip in and out of whenever the mood takes you. Aimed at upper primary level readers, I think older readers and adults will gain much information and enjoyment from this book as well.

Check out the Find Out More booklist and website list at the back for further information.

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