________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 13. . . .February 20, 2009.


You Are Weird: Your Body’s Peculiar Parts and Funny Functions.

Diane Swanson. Illustrated by Kathy Boake.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2009.
40 pp. pbk. & hc., $7.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55453-283-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55453-282-7 (hc.).

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

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Gail Hamilton.





Candles flicker as a man in black sweeps down a winding staircase, his full-length cape flowing behind him. At the bottom, he grabs a beautiful young woman and bares his teeth. She faints as he prepares to drink her blood…

The long canine teeth of the famous vampire Count Dracula are known around the world. They are sharp and strong- like yours, only longer. Look in the mirror to check your out. They’re the pointiest teeth you have. Sometimes these teeth are called fangs- even on people. But you’re no vampire, so what are canine teeth doing in your mouth?

     With its conversational writing style and catchy headings- Bacteria Bed and Breakfast, Stereo Sniffer and Holes in Your Head, to name a few- this book engages readers from the very first page. Covering such topics as the skin and perspiration, goose bumps, the tailbone and the senses, the book is comprised of 18 chapters and includes a table of contents, a glossary and an index. In most cases, the evolution of a particular body part is discussed, providing readers with reasons for the ways in which their bodies look and/or work today. Freaky Fact boxes give additional facts, some examples being that the skin of an average-sized man weighs as much as a 10-pin bowling ball and that, at the present moment, a person has more bacteria in his or her large intestine than the number of human beings that ever lived on Earth. As well, there are coloured boxes with interesting anecdotes related to the topic. For instance, in the chapter on skin, there is a story about a Scottish man, Tom Leppard, who tattooed almost his entire body with leopard spots, and another story about an ancient Greek slave whose master wrote a message on his bald head. Then, when the hair grew back, the master sent the slave to deliver the message. His head was shaved again, revealing the words.

     The text uses kid-friendly language and is easy to comprehend. Little known fascinating facts, not usually found in children’s books about the human body, combined with the author’s engaging style and the fun and quirky coloured illustrations make this book highly appealing.

     A fun and educational read, guaranteed to please!

Highly Recommended.

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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