Two body books in one gift roundup? Yes, because this reviewer could not be induced to ignore either one. The first, The Way We Work: Getting to Know the Human Body is by David Macaulay. This in itself is reason enough to run out and buy it. Macaulay is a master of bringing intricate structures to vivid life, and he is no less suited to expose the human body than the buildings and machines he is famous for. Peppy, brilliant and oh-so-fun, Macaulay's latest ensures that kids (and grown-ups) finally stand a darn good chance of understanding this stuff for real. Copyright 2008 BookPage Reviews.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Library Media Connection Reviews 2009 May/June
This author?s latest book is every inch as detailed and well-researched as we have come to expect from his work. You will know the human body head to toe once you are finished reading this volume. Filled with a lot of information, the author tries to break things down into manageable pieces starting with cells and how they go together as building blocks for everything. He covers all the systems of the body including respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and reproductive of both male and female. The illustrations are done in colored pencil and watercolors, with a sense of humor, but they are not always realistic representations of the human body or its parts. This is a good resource for health class, family life, or to explore the different body systems chapter by chapter. It is not an easy read for a younger student, but it would work well with middle school and older. Glossary. Index. Recommended. Maureen Mooney, Library Media Specialist, Caroline St. School, Saratoga Springs, New York ¬ 2009 Linworth Publishing, Inc.
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.
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.