You Can't See Your Bones with Binoculars: A Guide to Your 206 Bones by Harriet Ziefert, illus. by Amanda Haley, done in the style of their earlier books (You Can't Taste a Pickle with Your Ear and You Can't Buy a Dinosaur with a Dime), uses humor to deliver information about how the skeletal system works. Ziefert writes, "It is hard to feel your thigh bone, or femur, because it's covered by big muscles, which you need for walking, jumping, and running away from alligators!" Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Gr 3-5-In a slightly timeworn device, this book uses the old song "Dem Bones" for a tour of the major bones of the human skeleton. While the tone is jokey, information is imparted in a scattershot fashion. For example, in discussing the anklebones: "They do- have neat names like `navicular,' and `calcaneus,' and `cuneiform.' But if you tell your friends you know all this, they will think you are terribly nerdy and won't talk to you for a week." The description of the cervical vertebrae reads, "The topmost neck bone holds up your head. (No, not your cantaloupe, Charlie!) It is called the atlas and is named after the giant who holds the world on his shoulders in a Greek story." A helpful suggestion is to "stop and run your hand along the bone or bones being described." Goofy cartoon illustrations include X-ray inserts for the parts under discussion. The final drawing is of a complete skeleton with the major bones identified, helpful to pull the book together. Seymour Simon's Bones (Morrow, 1998) and Barbara Seuling's From Head to Toe (Holiday, 2002) cover the same material and more; the three could form the beginning of an informative study unit.-Dona Ratterree, New York City Public Schools Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Ziefert provides a quick scan of the skeleton, organized along the old neck-bones-connected-to-the-shoulder-bone routine, with a lot of names of the bones, a few trivial asides-the topmost neck bone is called the Atlas, because it holds up the head-and not enough solid information. It's hard to say what the intended audience is, as it's too sophisticated for preschoolers, with humor they won't understand, yet too simple for older kids, who need more details than this offers. The cartoon illustrations are offbeat and appealing; they work best when overlaid, as they often are, with real x-ray images of the bone being described. Among the other excellent books available on the topic, this one lacks bones-it doesn't quite stand up. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-7)