Friday, November 15, 2013

Inside Story: The Human Body by Jon Richards and Ed Simkins

Three billion of your body's cells die every minute!

A body contains enough carbon to fill 900 pencils.
You lose about 50,000 flakes of dead skin every minute.
The surface area inside the lungs is 754 square feet... the same as half a tennis court.
An adult has up to 62,137 miles of blood vessels--enough to stretch around the world 2.6 times.
Bacteria found inside the gut outnumber human body cells ten to one.

Science author Jon Richards packs his latest, The Human Body (The World in Infographics) (OwlKids, 2013), in his noted nonfiction series The World in Infographics with a tsunami of wow-inducing fascinating science facts that are aimed at hooking the elementary reader. Using eye-catching double-page color spreads in an attractive layout of pictograms, graphics, and icons designed by Ed Simkins, this book uses both awe-producing (the brain contains 1,000,000,000,000 nerve cells) and arrgghh-producing (the mouth makes about 4-6 cups of saliva per day) fascinating facts about the human body.

Richards' thirteen major topics give a once-over to the major body systems such as the skin, respiratory, circulatory, and digestive systems, separating some into double sections such as the sensory organs and the nervous system and the reproduction system and growth from gestation to maturation. Visualization is the guiding theme here, and Simkins uses a different background color for each section to make his factoids pop from the page, with some spreads represented vertically to provide variety.

Not intended as a substitute for an in-depth look at the human body, The Human Body (The World in Infographics) is a slim, unintimidating book which seeks to fire readers' interest in human biology by hitting the points of particular interest to elementary students. The text is snappy and succinct and the graphics succeed well in illustrating each fact in a way that all learners can grasp. There's certainly room for gee-whiz science books in this STEM-conscious educational environment, and Richards and Simkins know how to deliver with a browsing book well aimed at inspiring future biological scientists.  Few kids will make it through this book without a "Hey! Listen to THIS!" aimed at anyone near.  A short and snappy appendix includes a glossary, list of web site sources, and an index.

For a review of the author's first book in this series, see my recent review here.



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