Compiled by Highlights for Children's senior science editor, this collection of reprinted articles, modified for this book, focuses on human physiology. Eleven chapters depict some feature of the human body, based on scientific studies. Several of the appealing topics are relevant to readers who can identify with baseball swinging strategies, laughing, and rolling tongues, while others are remote such as how high altitudes on Mount Everest and microgravity impact heart and respiration rates. Some are practical, describing the dangers of ultraviolet radiation and hearing loss. Two chapters concentrate on warning readers not to smoke. A discussion of other addictions, diseases, nutrition, and exercise are omitted, even though these are significant concerns for modern readers, many of whom are affected by childhood obesity and such health-related issues as eating disorders and junk food in schools. Often relying on out-of-date information, the text sometimes seems old-fashioned. While historic cases, such as the horsepower chapter, are interesting, current examples applicable to those dated studies would be useful. The book includes a bibliography of scientific reports inspiring each chapter. Illustrations and photographs complement text. Readers seeking activities and experiments with science fair potential should consult Bill Nye the Science Guy's Great Big Book of Tiny Germs (2005) and Jim Wiese's Head to Toe Science (2000). This is part of the "Science in Action" series. 2005, Boyds Mills Press, Ages 8 to 12.
Elizabeth D. Schafer
Gr 4-6-Myers, a science editor for Highlights for Children, has updated and revised articles that previously appeared in the magazine. This eclectic collection about the human body and how we live with many environmental challenges discusses why and how people laugh; the ability to roll one's tongue; oxygen levels and the climbing of Mount Everest; psychological aspects of living in space; noise and its effect on hearing; skin damage due to ultra-violet waves; eye/hand coordination; and smoking and its effects on the body. Each chapter begins with a colorful, whimsical illustration to introduce the topic, followed by the scientific knowledge about the subject including illustrations and appropriate graphs and charts. The bibliography cites technical scientific journals, which are the basis of each chapter, but Myers conveys this information in an easy-to-understand manner. This is not meant to be a comprehensive book like Janice VanCleave's The Human Body for Every Kid: Easy Activities That Make Learning Science Fun (John Wiley, 1995), but the short pieces effectively convey information on the chosen topics. An additional purchase.-Ann Joslin, formerly at Erie County Public Library, PA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
In lightly revised articles that first appeared in Highlights, Myers looks at 11 topics in human biology, from hard-to-explain puzzlers like laughter and tongue rolling, to the deleterious effects of loud noises, ultraviolet rays and smoking. Boiling down (cited) research reports, he writes in fluent, informal prose, slipping in references to questions or comments received from children along with the occasional statistic or scientific term. Though he sounds several cautionary notes-particularly about the dangers of cigarettes, which Boyles backs up with a chapter on smoking as an addiction among young people-the overall tone is light, bucked up by Rice's colorful diagrams and cartoon vignettes, plus a lively photo or two. Consistently attentive to the interests of his intended audience, Myers is one of the most engaging science writers around; here he's in top form, and rare is the reader who will be able to resist his invitation to see what makes us, and the world, tick. (bibliography) (Nonfiction. 8-10)