CM . . .
. Volume XVIII Number 41. . . .June 22, 2012
Co-written by a broadcast journalist and a family physician, the six-title "Body Works" series is designed to help youngsters understand how various body systems work, how to maintain a healthy body and what happens when the body is not working at optimum level. All of the books begin with photos of the other titles in the series and an author's note. The information is interspersed with fun facts, true or false questions, and a doctor's tips for good health. Initials "MT" appearing on a page indicate a medical term. The authors' casual, conversational writing style is well-suited to their purpose of explaining complex concepts in an age-appropriate way.
According to the publisher, the target audience for this series is much younger (ages 6-8). Children of this age group would need a parent's or a teacher's assistance in order to read and fully comprehend some of the vocabulary and the concepts because the text is somewhat inconsistent in its difficulty. Even the glossary vocabulary is too advanced for young readers. For instance, the definition of "virus" is given as "a microscopic infectious agent than can only replicate in a living cell.Ē It might have been a good idea to have the glossary entries printed in boldface type in the main body of the text. As well, there is a bit of a contradiction in terms of the cover and the illustrations. The cover would likely attract a younger audience, but the cartoon-like watercolour and ink drawings tend to depict older children. Illustrations are colourful, highly appealing and add a touch of humour to the text. Both males and females are represented in the illustrations of physicians.
My Healthy Body takes a look at the various ways that children can stay healthy. Topics in this title include the importance of sleep for restoring both physical and mental health, the benefits of daily exercise to help deliver oxygen and nutrients to tissues and to help prevent obesity and some diseases in later life, nutrition and the importance of having a well-balanced diet, vaccines and immunizations, and eye and dental care. The sections on nutrition, vaccines and eye care could have been fleshed out a bit more as the information here is very brief. However, the authors deserve kudos for including emotional health, learning, and hygiene in this title as part of maintaining good health.
Slightly more detailed is My Itchy Body. In this title, the authors provide information about the various causes and treatments for itchiness. One of the topics is dry skin which can be caused by climate, seasonal changes, hot baths, infection, irritation or injury. Other reasons for itchiness include two types of contact dermatitis: allergic, which is a caused by sensitivity to poisonous plants, jewellery and fragrances; and irritant, which is the result of exposure to harsh soaps or chemicals which damage the skin faster than it is able to repair itself. Other topics include atopic dermatitis (eczema), hives, insect bites, infections such as chicken pox and ringworm, and internal illnesses and stress.
Educational and interesting, My Healthy Body and My Itchy Body are worthy of purchase as a supplement to a collection on related health topics.
Gail Hamilton is a former teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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