Each entry in the "Human Body Systems" series provides rudimentary, declarative sentences about the purpose, anatomical parts and functions of a body system in a total of about 220 words. Illustrations feature a multicultural variety of faces and look modern but posed. While the series is aimed at a young reader, it would be useful for older less-able readers but the information is straightforward, basic and so dry that it would be unlikely to compel any but the most desperate fifth grade report-writer's attention. Diagrams show each system in a see-through human body with minimal labels ("esophagus, stomach" appear on one; "small intestine" on another). Readers may wonder, too, how the esophagus and the trachea function independently. Or why a person doesn't breathe food or choke on air? Teachers may need to encourage discussion to round out the presentation of each system or send children to Paul Showers's more lively What Happens to a Hamburger? or on a "Magic School Bus" tour. Endmatter includes an index, a glossary and a workaday bibliography, plus suggested web sites. 2001, Pebble Books/Capstone Press, $13.25. Ages 7 to 9. Reviewer: Susan Hepler
- Judy Podlesney
This succinct little book takes the young reader on a journey through the digestive tract, from the first crisp bite of celery through the processes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine play in preparing the food for the absorption of nutrients and elimination of waste. Although stomach acid kills many germs, stomach aches, stomach flu, and spoiled food caused by germs can make us ill and signal the body to eliminate the germs through throwing up or diarrhea. We can keep our digestive systems healthy by washing fruits and vegetables prior to eating them, washing hands frequently, and properly cooking meats. Eating the variety of foods our bodies need to stay healthy, including fiber to propel food through the digestive tract, will help form healthy eating habits for life. The author presents interesting facts, such as the small intestine measures twenty-two feet if straightened. Each topic is explained on one page in easy to read print with a related photo or drawing on the page opposite. Significant words are highlighted and explained in a glossary. A few references are given for further study. This book is one of "Bridgestone Books Human Body Systems" series. It is an excellent introduction to body functions for early readers.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Large type and full-page color illustrations accompany short, simple texts that introduce and explain the different body systems. These slim titles are designed to support national science standards and the texts introduce subject-specific words that are defined in the glossaries. Illustrations feature photographs of ethnically diverse smiling children, and all except Muscular contain a few uncluttered diagrams with boxed legends or labels that will assist youngsters in grasping the concepts and identifying the parts of the system under consideration. Each volume is small enough for little hands to hold. Although these utilitarian, unimaginative books lack the visual appeal of such volumes as Seymour Simon's Muscles (Morrow, 1998), they may be helpful to newly independent readers ready to move beyond the science "Rookie Reader" series (Children's).-Dona J. Helmer, College Gate School Library, Anchorage, AK Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.