________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 7 . . . . November 26, 2004


Wow! The Most Interesting Book You’ll Ever Read About the Five Senses. (Mysterious You).

Trudee Romanek. Illustrated by Rose Cowles.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2004.
40 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.95 (pbk.), $14.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55337-630-7 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55337-629-3 (cl.).

Subject Heading:
Senses and sensation-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

**** /4


In 1895, a nine-year-old boy named Tom swallowed a huge gulp of what he thought was a cold drink. Unfortunately, it was boiling hot chowder. Tom burned his esophagus- the tube leading from his throat to his stomach- so badly that as it healed, scar tissue sealed it shut.

Doctors inserted a tube straight into Tom’s stomach to feed him, but he lost weight and always felt hungry.

Then Tom wondered if tasting his meals would help. So, before each feeding, he chewed a mouthful of the food. Tom began to gain weight and stopped feeling hungry. Just tasting his food made a huge difference.


Romanek has another sure-fire winner with this seventh book of the “Mysterious You” series. What separates this book from others on the same topic is the inclusion of little-known facts, information about unique inventions designed to improve humans’ perceptions of the world through their senses, and fun experiments that can be done with little or no adult supervision.

     In the seven chapters, Romanek explains how the brain works to help people experience the senses, humans’ dependence on the senses, how senses change with age and a little about the keener senses of various animals. Readers will learn about the anatomy of the eye, normal vision versus near and far-sightedness, depth perception and how humans see colours. The section on hearing has information about hearing loss and the pitch, amplitude and frequency of sound. Taste cells, how smell affects a food’s flavour and how scientists develop new flavours of ice cream are just a few of the topics regarding the sense of taste. The chapter on smell provides facts about smell memories, aromatherapy, the connection between smell and epilepsy and how deodorants and other products are developed with the help of professional armpit and foot sniffers (eew!). Finally, the section about touch explains how touch sensors on the skin and other parts of the body send messages to the brain about pain, itches, tickles and the texture of various objects. No book about the senses would be complete without details about how the senses all work together to provide humans with their perceptions of the world around them. One such example is the experiment in which three acrobats were asked to balance on one another’s shoulders. Their balance was perfect until the room’s lights were turned off, causing the acrobats to collapse. This experiment proved that the brain needs clues from three different places- including sight- to help people balance.

     Identical in layout and style to the other books in the series, this title has diagrams, illustrations and catchy headings, all of which grab the reader’s attention and add a touch of humour to the text. The text is written in kid-friendly language- especially important when Romanek explains more complex scientific concepts. A table of contents and an index are also included.

     Definitely worthy of purchase!

Highly Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird’s Hill School in East St. Paul, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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