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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Human Body, written by Caroline Bingham and illustrated by Lisa Swerling and Ralph Lazar. DK, Tourmaline Editions, 2010. $14.99 ages 8 and up

"Two legs, two arms, a head, two eyes...human beings share certain characteristics. Yet, human beings each have unique characteristics that set them apart from each other. You know your friends by the way they look and by the sound of their voices. We have the same body systems inside, and, yet, in appearance we all look very different."

Our body begins with cells, tissues and organs. A simple explanation of each leads the way to making many discoveries about the way that our bodies are formed and make us who we are. Each two page spread offers up information boxes, full color photos, and a short description. The Brainwaves add humor, and little tidbits of information to enhance the learning.

From the skeleton and muscles we are guided to the brain and nervous system. As the brain communicates through that system we make quick moves to protect us from harm and also automatic moves like blinking, sneezing and yawning. The details provided will be understood easily by young readers. The heart and its workings and the blood cells are the next stop on our journey. Here again photos and drawings, with short spurts of text show kids what they want to know about how their own body works.

On through the senses, teeth and the digestive system...never too much to be understood and always with simple explanations. The journey is smooth and ends with a 'did you know' fact sheet that includes:

"You take about 25.000 breaths each day and night.
You munch your way through about 500 kg of food a year. That's the same weight as 20 nine year olds!
You are a tiny bit taller in the mornings, because during the day the cartilage pads in your spine become a little squished!"

Now, who wouldn't want to know that? And can't you just hear the table conversation at Nana's the next time you visit?

Add a glossary and an index and you have another of those wonderful meant-just-for-kids books of nonfiction from the fine folks at Dorling Kindersley and another addition to the "The Little Brainwaves investigate..." series.

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