________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 18. . . .May 2, 2008


The Human Body: Look and Learn.

Pascale Hédelin. Illustrated by Robert Barborini.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids, 2008.
40 pp., spiral, $27.95.
ISBN 978-2-89579-175-1.

Subject Headings:
Body, Human-Juvenile literature.
Human physiology-Juvenile literature.
Human anatomy-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

** /4



If you have an appendix attack, a doctor at the hospital will operate on you. He gives you a drug that puts you to sleep and keeps you from feeling pain. Then he opens your stomach to take out the sick intestine tip. After, you get better.


This large, coil-bound book is designed to teach young children about the workings of the human body. It begins with information about the birth of a baby and child development and goes on to feature the various body systems and the senses. There is also a section about illness and disease. Touted by its publisher, Owlkids, as a "must-have reference for young children," the book's strengths can also be perceived as its weakness. Designed in a "toy" format with some acetate overlays, turning wheels and pull tabs, the book's interactive nature will definitely appeal to children. However, the pull tabs often stick, and over time, they will likely tear. Though the premise of the book is sound, the text is sometimes misleading and might be confusing to kids. For example, in the section about reproduction, the text reads: "The man puts a tiny seed, called a sperm, in the woman's belly." Most of the text is quite simple, but it seems to range from overly simplified to vague or sketchy. Illustrations, consisting of colourful, cartoon-like drawings, are perfect for young readers, but some are questionable. Do readers really need to see a drawing of a little boy "peeing" into a toilet? Readers can pull a tab that shows the final stage of digestion, but is showing "poop" really necessary? Another drawing shows a woman in labour; kids can pull a tab to see the baby being born, complete with umbilical cord internal artattached to the mother. Perhaps the author and illustrator thought that these illustrations would help to appease youngsters' curiosity about bodily functions and childbirth, but the drawings are somewhat inappropriate.

     Though the book is meant for very young children, there is not enough age-appropriate, detailed information. Due to the likelihood that the tabs and fold-out sections will become worn over time, this book is best purchased for home use and not for a library.

Recommended with reservations.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

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

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