Tuesday 8 September 2020

The Human Body Survival Guide

The Human Body Survival Guide by George Ivanoff (Puffin Books) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN 9781760896744

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

On the cover of this hefty book are the words ‘Your body is really gross – but also pretty awesome!’ which best sums up its contents. Readers learn about the inside and outside of the human body including blood and guts, burps and farts. Everywhere we go, we’re shedding bits of ourselves. Skin. Hair. Nails. And our bodies are a breeding ground for germs, bacteria, fungus, lice and more. We secrete spit and snot and sweat…

Presented in black and white with red tags and break-outs, this book covers a wide range from the section ‘On the Outside’ (The Wrapping, Dead Stuff, Weird Stuff and Body Image Survival) to ‘Better Out than In’ (Weeing it Out, Pooping It Out, Hurling It Out, Gassing It Out, Oozing it Out and Cutting it Out) and more. An avatar introduces the contents and each section has a ‘Gross-O-Meter’ which measures from Completely Un-Gross to Totally Ultra Gross. 

One can imagine a young reader totally engaged in the fascinating information which is revealed throughout the book. Thus, you can find out about a tribe in Papua New Guinea, the Fore people, who used to eat the brain of the deceased at funerals. This led to the spread of a deadly disease called kuru. There’s so much more trivia in this book. For example, accompanying a tag which reads ‘Rainbow sweat’ is this fascinating information: ‘Some people have coloured sweat. It comes out either yellow, green, blue, brown, or black. This rare condition is call chromhidrosis.’ 

The Human Body Survival Guide takes the reader on a weird and wonderful journey, teaching just how amazing and complex one’s body is.

Accompanying the chapters is a glossary and further reading (books and websites). Without doubt readers (from 9+ years to adult) will spend many hours dipping into this engaging non-fiction book.

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