Gr. 5-8. With an appealing, colorful design and a flashy cover, this in-depth introduction to the human brain and its remarkable powers will attract browsers, but strong readers are its best audience. Newquist begins with the brain in history, from the ancient Egyptians (who thought the brain was so worthless they scooped it out of corpses before mummifying them) up to Wilder Penfield's work in the 1950s, which proved that the brain was the source of human memory. The book goes on to discuss, in impressive detail, the structure and inner workings of the organ-glia, neurotransmitters, hypothalamuses, etc. Pencil drawings and color illustrations (many of them deliciously icky) help to lighten the weight of the vocabulary. The clever, kid-friendly anecdotes amid the anatomy lessons also aid accessibility: the one about a man whose personality changed after a steel rod shot through his brain, and the real cause of brain freeze.
NEWQUIST, H. P. The Great Brain Book: An Inside Look at the Inside of Your Head. illus. by Keith Kasnot & Eric Brace. 160p. diags. photos. reprods. index. Web sites. CIP. Scholastic Reference. 2005. Tr $18.95. ISBN 0-439-45895-1. LC 2004042955.
Gr 7 UpThis detailed and informative book offers in-depth descriptions of brain processes coupled with engaging content. Intriguing illustrations and diagrams and clear, full-color photos enliven the text. Historical information pairs nicely with modern scientific knowledge and practice to provide a complete picture of the brain. The hardcore science is balanced with anecdotes that will capture student interest, such as how tightrope walkers rewire the fear centers of their brains and how lobotomies came to be popular. This is an excellent resource for reports as it is much more detailed than an encyclopedia entry or book chapter in a general physiology reference. It includes a short but effective index and a one-page list of Web resources. A handsome addition.Cass Kvenild, University of Wyoming, Laramie