The Book of Blood: From Legends and Leeches to Vampires and Veins

( 2 )

Overview

Winner of the Magnolia Award

HP Newquist takes young readers on an engaging tour of the world of blood, from ancient history to modern science—with an occasional trip to the very strange side of the most important tissue in our bodies. Oddly enough, scientists began to understand this fascinating fluid only within the past one hundred years and how its microscopic components nourish the entire body.
Whether the tales of vampires, medieval ...

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The Book of Blood: From Legends and Leeches to Vampires and Veins

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Overview

Winner of the Magnolia Award

HP Newquist takes young readers on an engaging tour of the world of blood, from ancient history to modern science—with an occasional trip to the very strange side of the most important tissue in our bodies. Oddly enough, scientists began to understand this fascinating fluid only within the past one hundred years and how its microscopic components nourish the entire body.
Whether the tales of vampires, medieval medical practices, and Mayan sacrificial rites captivate or terrify, this comprehensive investigation into blood’s past and present will surely enthrall. And if this account is a little bloodcurdling, well, that’s half the fun!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
“Blood looks too simple to be so important: just a bright splash of liquid that seems as if it isn’t much different from paint or fruit juice or cherry-colored water.” In 11 concise chapters, Newquist (Here There Be Monsters) demystifies one of the most elemental and (literally) vital components of life as we know it. After an overview of the complex makeup of blood, Newquist dives into humankind’s history with, beliefs about, and study of blood, including missteps and misconceptions along the way; both ritual and medical bloodletting are discussed, the latter persisting as a method of treatment well into the 1800s (“George Washington was treated with bloodletting—and then died from it”). Newquist goes into detail to explain how blood moves through the human body and the critical role it plays in keeping us alive, also touching on hematophageous (blood-drinking) animals and vampire legends. Photographs and period illustrations appear throughout, and blood-spattered pages play into the subject matter’s potential for ickiness, even while Newquist makes it clear that blood is worthy of fascination, not fear. Ages 10–14. Agent: Ken Wright, Writers House. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
"A thorough and humorous exploration of our relationship with blood."—VOYA

"This transfusion of information offers a rewarding experience to readers whether they're after the specific differences between blood types and other biological data or just gore's icky lore."—Kirkus

"Blood-spattered pages play into the subject matter's potential for ickiness, even while Newquist makes it clear that blood is worthy of fascination, not fear."—Publisher's Weekly

"The conversational tone and the faux blood-spattered pages, replete with sidebars, color photos, archival drawings, and medical illustrations, are sure to pull readers in."—School Library Journal

"Newquist's prose is smooth enough that several chapters could actually function as nonfiction readalouds."—Bulletin
VOYA - Laura Perenic
The Book of Blood is a thorough and humorous exploration of our relationship with blood through the subjects of medicine, folklore, and fiction. Playing off our fears, Newquist utilizes facts and images to flesh out the reader's understanding of blood's impact on many cultures and religions. The book's tone alternates between light and somber, showing young adults the influence of blood on literature, with the popularity of vampire novels, and the importance of blood as their largest organ. In a terse manner that can feel like a time warp, the content hurtles through the evolution of our fear of blood, touching on Aztec sacrifices, bloodborne pathogens, and blood-drinking insects. The publisher's suggested age range is ten through fourteen, but even younger children with an interest in science could easily comprehend all the medical subject matter. Even the queasy will appreciate Newquist's message of respect for the blood that unites us all. Reviewer: Laura Perenic
Children's Literature - Caitlyn Payne
It's sticky, red, and wet. We can't live without it, and people are often uncomfortable seeing it. It is more complicated than we ever imagined. It is blood, a vital ingredient to our lives. Blood travels the circulatory system—a map of veins, vessels, and arteries in the body—to carry all things your body needs to remain healthy (oxygen, nutrients, etc.) and eliminate waste. But what do we really know about blood? In the scientific tale of The Book of Blood, the reader learns how blood has been viewed through the ages and why it is worthy of such study. For thousands of years people did not know what blood did. Early civilizations such as Mesopotamia (Iraq), the Hindi, and Egyptians often drank blood, inspiring the later legends of vampires. In Europe, early doctors used bloodletting as the method to "rid" the body of "evil humors," believing the loss made their patients healthier. (This practice killed George Washington, the first US President.) It wasn't until the 1800s that bloodletting was seen as harmful and medical advancements such as transfusions became the accepted practice (and even those didn't always work). Blood types, essential to making transfusions healthy, were discovered in 1900 and helped further advance medical treatments. Doctors began to learn more about how blood flows in the body and how it contributes to people's health and well-being. While we cannot yet manufacture it, we know its importance, and that it is worth protecting. HP Newquist offers a comprehensive, impressive study of blood, accompanied by helpful diagrams and photos. It is a book which is easy to read aloud; an inventive look at all the ways the world viewed blood. Parts of it may amuse, such as how vampires became so popular, and some facts might even horrify, such as leeches being used as a medical "cure" on humans. Readers will learn while enjoying the diagrams, legends, and facts about blood. With the exception of one mislabeled photograph of a medical soldier as a World War I doctor instead of the World War II doctor he was, the book is an accurate and fascinating study of the substance called blood in all its scientific, legendary, creepy, and helpful forms. Reviewer: Caitlyn Payne
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Blood, writes Newquist, "is one of the most fascinating and fabled substances in history." In this compendium, readers will learn about the red fluid's biological function as well as its historical and cultural significance. Several chapters cover its importance in ancient cultures and explain how our knowledge about its role in the body developed over time. Information about early medical practices such as bloodletting (including the use of leeches) will grab students' interest, as will the sections on hematophagous (blood-drinking) animals and vampire legends. The chapters on the physiology of the circulatory system and the components of blood are more readable than those in many textbooks. The conversational tone and the faux blood-spattered pages, replete with sidebars, color photos, archival drawings, and medical illustrations, are sure to pull in readers. Unfortunately, there are no source notes to support blanket statements such as, "Everything you put in your body ends up in your blood," and "Your blood is more responsible for keeping you alive than anything else in your body." This book's content is similar to that in Trudee Romanek's Squirt: The Most Interesting Book You'll Ever Read About Blood (Kids Can, 2006), although it covers some topics in greater depth and has more of a narrative format.—Jackie Partch, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR
Kirkus Reviews
Newquist expands considerably on the premise that "[t]here is more to blood than that it's red and kind of gross" without neglecting to keep the "kind of gross" parts in view. Along with a suitably gore-spattered parade of Aztec and other bloodthirsty gods and blood rituals throughout history, the author takes quick looks at various kinds of blood in the animal kingdom and at vampires in modern pop culture. He also recaps the development of our understanding of blood and the circulatory system from ancient times through the scientific revolution, and thence on to modern uses for blood in medicine and research. In considerably more detail, though, he tallies blood's individual components and the specific functions of each in keeping our bodies alive and healthy. Aside from a debatable claim that "[e]verything you put in your body ends up in your blood," this transfusion of information offers a rewarding experience to readers whether they're after the specific differences between blood types and other biological data or just gore's icky lore. It's nicely enhanced by a generous array of photographs, microphotographs and artists' renderings. A closer focus on biology than bloodshed makes this a natural companion for Tanya Lloyd Kyi's more anthropological Seeing Red: The True Story of Blood (2012). (bibliography, Web sites) (Nonfiction. 10-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547315843
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 8/7/2012
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 449,851
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

HP Newquist (The Book of Blood , Here There Be Monsters ) writes about all kinds of things, from human brains and giant squids to monsters and music. When he's not writing, he's traveling with his wife and two daughters, playing his guitar, or exploring new technologies. He and his family live in Connecticut and you can find out more about him at www.newquistbooks.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2013

    Blood

    I Love Blood!

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    Posted August 31, 2012

    Oddly

    Oddly Weird

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