Reviews for Way We Work


Booklist Reviews 2008 October #2
"Many years in the making, Macaulay's latest work follows the same format as his groundbreaking best-seller, The Way Things Work (1988). Here, Macaulay shifts his focus from modern machinery to the infinitely more complex workings of the human body. The single, holistic subject makes this title far more ambitious than its predecessor, in which each spread was devoted to a particular device. In The Way We Work, every page builds on a previous spread: there is a clear progression from atom to whole organism, but in most cases, readers will need background context to orient themselves as they move through the anatomical subjects, which close with reproduction and birth. As with The Way Things Work, this book's audience will include adults. In fact, older readers who have previously encountered the science concepts are likely to glean the most from the text's brief, technical explanations; students seeking a basic understanding of topics such as cellular reproduction will find this much less accessible. As always, though, Macaulay's artwork is a marvel. From microscopic views to head-to-toe, skeletal structures, the colored-pencil and watercolor images are filled with whimsy. Some pictures are visual metaphors: the respiratory system is shown as a giant, looping roller coaster, for example. Other touches are simply playful and wry: tourists ride a rubber raft through the small intestines; angels support strands of colon that frame a landscape reminiscent of a Renaissance masterpiece. The powerful, illuminating images will ignite curiosity and inspire awe over the magnificent connections that make up the human body." Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Spring
Macaulay turns his prodigious curiosity and formidable talents to anatomy and physiology. The opening chapter introduces basic concepts of cellular biology and chemistry while subsequent chapters take us through the body systems. Humor occasionally leavens the information, which, though often complex and technical, is clearly and succinctly presented in double-page spreads, accompanied by an illuminating array of illustrations. Glos., ind. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2008 #5
In a companion volume to The Way Things Work (rev. 3/89), Macaulay turns his prodigious curiosity and formidable talents to the fields of anatomy and physiology. The opening chapter introduces basic concepts of biology and chemistry at the cellular level while subsequent chapters take us through the various systems of the body: respiratory, circulatory, digestive, urinary, nervous, lymphatic, skeletal, muscular, and reproductive. In one illustration these are represented as Rockettes in a cancan line, with an additional system -- the legal system -- represented by a doctor in scrubs who holds a warning sign: "not to be used for surgery." Humor thus occasionally leavens the information, which, though often complex and technical, is clearly and succinctly presented in double-page spreads, accompanied by an illuminating array of illustrations (including diagrams and cross sections), often full of visual metaphors and striking angles. Nonfiction (reference books, in particular) rarely seems to get the respect it deserves, but Macaulay's latest ambitious, encyclopedic work commands it. A substantial glossary and index are appended. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2008 September #2
In the same style as The Way Things Work (1988), lively, vivid colored-pencil illustrations accompany a very detailed text explaining the design and function of the human body. Beginning at the atomic level and describing the structure and workings of human cells with an amount of information that nearly rivals high-school biology books, Macaulay and Walker then move on to DNA, tissue types, organs and organ systems, immune response, movement and reproduction. The intricacy and wonder of the human body is celebrated, but this is never an easy read. The lighthearted illustrations featuring speech balloons, tiny workers and a variety of other humorous touches will attract a fairly young age group, but the amount and complexity of the written information may daunt all but the most ardent enthusiasts. This is without doubt a browsing volume; the amusing but general chapter headings--"Air Traffic Control"--makes location of topics a bit of a challenge. Though it's an unlikely choice for a little light reading, the accuracy, detail and depth of information make this an essential addition to most collections. (glossary, index, appendix) (Nonfiction. 12 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2008 June #2
Getting beyond cathedrals, Macaulay sat in on anatomy classes, surgeries, and autopsies so that he could get the workings of the human body just right. Not for kids only; with a national tour. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 October #4

A Caldecott Medalist and MacArthur Fellow, perhaps best known for his pithily written, illuminatingly illustrated The Way Things Work, Macaulay has devoted himself for years to this illustrated guide aimed at demystifying the workings of the human body. Picture book or not, adults may constitute a significant percentage of its eventual audience. The book is astonishingly comprehensive, beginning with the structure of a cell, traveling through various systems (e.g., respiratory, digestive, etc.) and ending with childbirth. Followers of Macaulay will expect some wit, and it is evident, not just in captions but in throwaways, as in an explanation of taste that acknowledges that smell is "the senior partner." However, the writing is often highly technical ("When a nonsteroid hormone arrives at its target cell, it binds to a receptor protein projecting from the cell's surface"). The full-color drawings may help readers understand the language, but despite the friendly format, with one topic per spread, this is not a book for casual browsing nor for most preteens. On the other hand, motivated teens will feel they've gone to premed heaven. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)

[Page 55]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2008 October

Gr 6 Up-- An ambitious undertaking even for Macaulay, this volume tackles the human body in the author's usual style. Divided into seven sections that connect related systems, the book covers cellular structure at the atomic scale, DNA, and metabolism; respiration and circulation; digestion and elimination; the nervous and endocrine systems; the immune system and fighting infections; the skeleton, musculature, and movement; and reproduction. Macaulay combines a detailed description with frequently whimsical, yet very informative, color diagrams to illustrate the body's functions. At times challenging due to the nature of the topic (e.g., cellular chemistry, nerve impulses), the text incorporates the same subtle humor found in the artwork to enhance the book's appeal without sacrificing its utility. As Macaulay shies away from no topic in his frank, scientific discussions, the result is a very complete description of the "mechanical" aspect of human anatomy that is at once enlightening, entertaining, and a visual delight.--Jeffrey A. French, formerly at Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library, Willowick, OH

[Page 171]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2008 October
The wonder that is David Macaulay is at it again. The author, a genius at cutaway views of everyday architectural structures in books such as Mosque (Walter Lorraine Books/Houghton Mifflin, 2003/VOYA February 2004) and the perennial favorite, The Way Things Work (1988/VOYA April 1999), takes on his biggest construction challenge yet in the human body. Using clever chapter headings, such as "Air Traffic Control" (respiratory system) and "Who's in Charge Here?" (the brain), Macaulay's accessible and amusing descriptions of the body's inner workings result in a fascinating journey. His color illustrations break down body systems from the most elemental level, the single cell, and work their way through to increasingly complex organs and systems. Eventually he ties them together for a complete overview of the way we work His text is irreverent. "Slice and Crush" is all about teeth and chewing. His drawing of a hand pulling the left eye out of its socket is just gross enough to engage young readers into a description of seeing. This play of whimsical albeit accurate illustrations versus technical text should work well as the reading level is a tad mature for the low end of the book's intended audience. The work of this Caldecott medal winner and recipient of the McArthur grant is always a must-have in any library. The index was not seen in the advance review copy.-Beth E. Andersen Glossary. Index. Illus. 5Q 4P M J S A/YA Copyright 2008 Voya Reviews.

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