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Human Body - Steve Parker

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Reading level: Ages 8 and up / Hardcover: 60 pages / Publisher: DK / Published: March 15 1994

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      12.02.2013 12:46
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      Advantages

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      The book is full of simple fun activities, bright and clear photographs, bite size learning!

      ~The Product~ 'Body Language'!~

      This little teaching aid has only 61 pages but is full of information presented in a fun and comprehensible manner for the recommended age range of eight years and over; grade three to five. Of course, children as unique individuals will progress at their own pace. Publishers of this educational book are Dorling Kindersley and the book was published on March 15, 1994. The book presents an excellent introduction to physiology and anatomy.

      Positive reviews state that this book is 'a mini museum between the covers of a book' ~The New York Times
      'These books striking visual impact will draw in even the most casual readers'. ~ School Library Journal.

      I was very enthusiastic to see if these comments proved accurate!

      ~My Usage Experience via the Grand-children ~ 'keep Body And Soul Together'!~

      I was given this book by a friend that was clearing out her cupboards of books no longer needed by her now grown up children. Although my children are also adults, she knew I have grand-children that may very well enjoy going through the book with me. I often help out with home-work assignments my two eldest grand-tots have so I thought this may come in as a very useful addition to the other educational reference books I have in my library.

      The books small dimensions of 7.5 x 5.8 x 0.4 inches make it an easy to hold edition for little hands. Both my young grand-tots have no problems handling the book which presents them with confident management of negotiating around the pages. The hardcover offers protection against frequent usage and has maintained its neat appearance despite repeated reading.

      Both I and my eldest grand-son began by simply flicking through each page to see what the book as a whole offered. The first thing we both noticed was that every page has from two to many more excellent quality photographs and skilfully produced images, an abundant amount being very funny. I'm a great believer in making learning fun for children; it presents far more benefits to the child. This book certainly appeared like it was going to be a very enjoyable teaching aid and learning experience.

      All the images come with descriptive and informative captions. My grand-daughter often points to more detailed instructional pictures and ask what they are about. But this book, with its easy to comprehend brief descriptions made it simple for her to read and understand. This has helped to build her confidence. I generally follow up by asking her to explain to me what she gathered from the information, thereby ensuring she had grasped the facts being conveyed.

      'Looking at your body'

      I found that the 'bite size' information on each topic furnished my young grand-children with information that was easier to process and remember. With little test I created, I was able to clearly discern that this method of formatting the book has indeed produced excellent results in this area. As an example, the first category that is dealt with, entitled 'Looking at your body' is only two pages devoted to things such as our skin and various body sizes. The young reader is encouraged to 'get to know' themselves. The second brief paragraph explains that 'Your body is so interesting; it's hard to know where to start. Why not begin with skin'? As the paragraph advises, I borrowed a magnifying glass from my son and we each in turn looked under the tool to gather information. I asked the children in turn what they have found out about the skin on their hands. Both grand-tots were so thrilled to use this 'grown-up' gadget to analyse the results of their findings. They were so happy to be able to gather information and eagerly answer 'Is all skin the same' as one of the questions on the page asked.

      The opposite page presented an exciting little experiment for the children to help them learn more about themselves and others. The task was more suited to my older grand-son but my eldest grand-daughter could still be included in the outline drawings, of which she loved taking part on. The assignment involved putting a large piece of paper either on the floor or wall. I attached plain lining paper to the wall to enable easier usage for the children. My grand-son stood against the paper, while my grand-daughter drew a marker outline around his shape. Much giggling ensued which added to the fun of the task? Next, my grand-son had to add a drawing of 'the heart, lungs and stomach. The comment on the page that followed this task encouraged the students to 'check the book to see if' they were correct on where the body parts should be! As the contents are clear and easily accessible, locating these pages were quick and simple.

      There were many more giggles when we could see where the organs were drawn and where in fact they are in our bodies! I attached a fresh piece of paper and my eldest grand-son now drew the organs in the places directed from the book. He felt very happy at his earnest efforts in drawing the organs and exclaimed how excited he felt at now knowing where the organs are in the body, which he eagerly announced to his mum when she arrived. This is one of the most excellent features of this invaluable book, the inclusion of fun and well thought out task that help young children understand the body and how it works.

      'Who am I'?

      Page 10 and 11 of the book deals with the subject matter, 'Who am I'? The introductory paragraph enquires 'Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered what's under your skin'? Because we had read through and enjoyed the task on the previous two pages, the children were able to confidently answer up that they had such organs as the lungs, heart and stomach underneath their skin. The page shows a young girl standing next to a comical image of a robot. I asked my grand-daughter to read the accompanying paragraph, 'Imagine your body as a robot, made from lots of mechanical parts. Each part does one job to keep the robot working'. Such analogies throughout the book furnished the children with superb study aids to help them comprehend how the body works. Another example is given on how the lungs are like 'bellows to suck in and push air out'. I followed this up by asking the children to inhale and exhale along with me so we could monitor how our lungs work in this way.

      The children expressed many oohhh and arrrs when I read the section about our bodies containing ten of our main organs inside our central body, which I then added this being the 'torso' as noted in the book. There is a rather detailed picture of a model torso showing the blood vessels, lungs, liver, heart and intestine. A few 'wow, how cool is that Nan' came from my grand-son, whilst a 'yuk that's gross' was announced by my grand-daughter :~) Though undeterred, she was eager to turn the next page! I actually had to discourage the children from moving through the book too quickly, so much so was their desire to read and enjoy the task. I thought it best, to ensure the information was cemented into their memories, to only proceed at a measured manner throughout the book. I wanted to follow the author's excellent bite size technique to make certain that the children didn't become over-whelmed with too many facts and then lose interest. Therefore, each weekend, I set aside a little time to read two pages of each section, carrying out task as they came along.

      'What can I do'?

      The next portion of the book is entitled 'What can I do'? Before we even started reading, both my eldest grand-son and grand-daughter copied the actions of the boy and girl in the photograph on the page 12. My grand-daughter played the wheelbarrow and my grand-son the one pushing her along! After much laughter they managed to compose themselves enough to read the point of the illustration. The actions showed the children that our hand muscles keep fingers gripping. I followed this through by asking the children to flex then relax their fingers. They read how their hips and legs muscles hold our legs out straight. Then they moved onto reading about other muscles such as in the neck and shoulders, helping to move our heads. The book is so full of delightful fun experiments, like the one on page 13 whereby the children had to pat their head with one hand whilst rubbing their tummy with the other hand. Both the grand-tots then challenged each other of who could accomplish this best, the comical dispute continues!

      'A Healthy body'

      comes next and particularly apt for my eldest grand-son who often bulks against going to bed earlier during the school week. I used the information on these two pages to ask him why he thinks it is important to get rest. My grand-son was surprised to read that while he sleeps his body doesn't, as 'it carries on growing and repairing itself. He was so interested when he continued to read that his 'brain never shuts 'down at night'. That is when I asked him what signs are there to show this, he thought for a short while then announced 'I sometimes remember a little of my dreams Nan, so my mind must be thinking'! Love his heart :~) The image of very exhausted men with blood-shot eyes, messy hair and worried frown got the tots giggling again.

      'Sensational skin'

      helped the children appreciate that the skin does far more than 'keep' their 'insides in'! We read the section through together first, and then I hid the pages and asked questions. The detailed pictures of the layers of the skin helped them to recall certain details such as how the blood vessels work when we get hot and cold. We dipped our fingers into paint and pressed them on paper to show how we have 'prints' and that we all have different fingerprints; a little exercise I gathered from the image on the page 17.

      'Hair and nails'

      The section under 'Hair and nails' caused much interest too. The information in the first paragraph draws a comparison we have with pets. It is apparent that children do need adult assistance in reading certain excerpts from the book. For example, on page 19 there is a paragraph that shows a bright close-up picture of hair with split and uneven ends. The paragraph notes numerical details that presented difficulty for the children to read and understand. The facts are contained under the sub-heading 'Hairy head', and note that we have 'around 5 million hairs on your body- but only about 100,000 grow on your head. Head hair grows about 2mm each week', at this point I handed the children a tape measure so they could see how much 2mm looks like. There is a fun task involving marbles on this page of which the children enjoyed taking part in.

      'Muscles'

      The next section on 'Muscles' had my grand-son enthralled. We actually used his uncle's work-out equipment so he could see how his muscles flexed as he undertook little task such as on the rowing machine and some very small hand weights. Even my grand-daughter joined in. This is one of the reasons why I am such an avid fan of this book, as the grand-children are; the task is a delight to do. I end up being so inspired by the material that it is easy to think up new fun task to combine with those in the book. My grand-daughter particularly liked the task of producing funny faces that helps to show how many muscles it takes to either smile, frown or laugh!

      'All about bones'

      is a couple of pages that, due to the very detailed pictures, enthralled the grand-tots. They even wanted to draw the patterns they observed from the inner sections of the 'marrow'! The analogies that are drawn throughout the book are so accurate and fun. For instance, to help the children remember and comprehend the details in the picture of the 'end of the bone' there is a tiny image of a bee noting that the 'end of the bone has a honeycomb-like centre. My grand-son chirped up his own analogy, 'like the inside of a Crunchy bar Nan'! :~D

      'Have a heart'!

      The section on the 'Heart' is immense fun to read and the task was so educational to do. The grand-children gained so much enjoyment, including 'Nan' make funnels to attach to the end of tubing so they could listen to each other's heart beating. The paragraph that goes with this task, which is shown by photographs on the page, helped the children understand how this remarkable 'pump' works. The author encourages the reader to 'listen for the "lub-dup" sound of the valves snapping shut with each beat of the heart'. The large diagram on page 24 helped the children see what the author means by 'valves' etc., There is also a bright chart that shows the different rest rates of the heart between an adult, child and baby.

      'Blood'

      is a section that the children also gained great pleasure from. We borrowed my son's microscope, I pricked my finger, popped a couple of droplets onto a clean slide, ran it carefully under the microscope, revised the lenses to enable the children see what blood looks like close-up, lots of ewws and wows followed! Then we read about how blood works, from clotting to the separate components that actually make up blood cells. Both children wanted to prick their fingers but I said we'll wait until they suffer a scratch or scrape from a fall, usually from their bike rides! They were very enthused to 'accidentally' suffer a scuffle! :~D

      'Lungs and breathing'

      The next two pages dealing with 'Lungs and breathing' caused particular delight as I had already purchased balloons before they arrived! The photograph of a young boy blowing up a balloon, with a separate section in the form of a diagram overlapping the picture showed the children in a noteworthy way how their lungs work. By taking in turns to blow up some balloons, they could 'feel' their lungs expanding as they inhaled, and could see the effects when they exhaled. The book uses simple language and terms to help children comprehend the subject matter.

      'Food for life'

      is a subject I was very eager to go through with the children. Page 30 shows lovely appetising pictures of various foods, such as fruits, cakes and wholegrain products. This portion also deals with calorie intake, which is another reason that shows why it is important for an adult to take the time to go through the material with the young reader. Some information, especially material that involves statistics need to be explained. A good portion of the book is quite simplistic but there is information that needs to be broken down to help the child understand the subject matter when it includes detailed information.

      'Something to get your teeth into'!

      The next subject on 'Teeth' which the children took great pleasure in, is so much fun to read. The diagram on page 33 is excellent as it shows the various names of the teeth. The children were very surprised to see what the root of the tooth actually looks like, as shown by a very detailed large diagram on page 32. I really appreciated the wise counsel the book brings out on sugary foods and refreshments! My grand-son particularly enjoyed looking at the pictures under the title 'What happens to food'? The sub-headings promote interest with such titles as 'stomach slime' and '[Body blender'!

      'Amazing Brain'

      The portion on 'Amazing Brain' is invaluable as a teaching aid. It shows children how our brains are like 'a huge computer, controlling everything' our bodies do. These comparisons really help the children understand how different organs work. Using every day known items really helps the children digest information that could have been all too overwhelming to comprehend otherwise.

      'Network of nerves'

      is a wonderful section that is presented in a very funny manner. The author again draws a superb analogy between the '75 kilometres of nerves snake through' the body. 'Like a network of telephone wires, they relay messages between' the brain, spinal cord and body. To see the children's faces light up with recognition is an absolute delight. I could see their confidence grow as their knowledge expanded. They said the image of an older lady with a red sore foot looked like me and laughter ensued yet again! :~D They tried out the 'baby foot reflex' out on their youngest sibling as she giggled with delight as they tickled her feet. :~)

      'Hormones'

      The category on 'Hormones' I would have found difficult to explain but this book makes light-work of any subject matter on the body. The diagrams show such things as 'a man has thicker facial hair' and a close up image of the pancreas cells shown 'under a microscope'.

      'Fighting Fit'

      is another section that helped the children appreciates how germs spread and the importance of washing hands after using the bathroom. I have since seen how much this lesson had affected the children as they now remember to wash their hands more without a nudge from Nan! :~)

      'Communication'

      is a subject that is dealt with in a very compassionate manner. There is a picture of two young boys, one with his arm gently around the shoulder of the other lad who appears to be crying. The comment reflects, 'Arm around shoulders shows concern and sympathy'. What a wonderful way to help children appreciate the value of empathy for another person.

      'Eyes and sight'

      presented the children with more fun task as they had to join the dots in a picture I picked out from a newspaper. The author explains in simplistic terms how eye-sight works. The pictures even reveal how long-sighted and short-sighted people see objects and the reasons for these conditions.

      'Ears and hearing'

      The section under 'Ears and hearing' yet again furnished the children with learning in a fun way. We chose a glass cup each and undertook the task noted on page 48. Although there is a perfectly good image of the ear canal on page 49, I borrowed my son's 3D model of the ear and its components so the children could build up the model in stages. They both thoroughly enjoyed combining this assignment with the written information on the set pages.

      'Tongue and taste'

      was brought even more alive for the children as I took ideas form the images on the pages to gather such foods for them to try and understand how taste buds work. For some reason they took quite a while to understand this lesson as they had to keep trying sweets to detect different flavours! I think I had been duped! :~D

      'Nose and Smell'

      The Subject of 'Nose and Smell' had the children giggling as under the sub-heading 'Rubbery nose' they had to press their nose to detect the cartilage and muscles. Things got a little out of hand when they wanted to press each other have nosed and mine! :~)

      'Touch'

      The subject of 'Touch' on pages 54 and 55 afforded hilarious results! We took part in 'the test' noted on page 54; think of 'I'm a celeb get me outa here'! We made a large open carton; I cut out three large holes. Then I placed three varied foods on plates for them to touch and see if they could detect what they were. Again lots of ewwws ensued! :~) They were amazed when I told them to feel the Braille on products I had in the kitchen, the book afforded me this idea from the image on page 55. This is such a neat feature of this book, the pictures furnish the reader with ideas on how to elaborate task.

      'A new baby'

      had my grand-daughter oohing and awing :~) A really wonderful two pages dealing with the matter of conception and birth in a very sensitive and tasteful manner.

      'Growing up'

      is another section that the children gained so much value and appreciation from. My eldest grand-son is smaller in height than most of his peers but this book shows how we are all different and that we each have differences that make us all unique individuals.

      The last two pages give a lovely clear index on the book's subject matter. This may be nearly two decades old, but the information is as relevant and accurate today as it was when first published. I have enjoyed so much going through this book with my grand-children, taking part as well as organizing the task. This book shows that learning can indeed be fun. Much of the information is made memorable by the clear photographs and wonderful detailed images. This book will remain a wonderful little bite size reference book for my grand-children to return to time and again.

      ~Would I Recommend? ~ 'Body Image'!~

      Yes, absolutely! The book is full of simple fun activities, wonderful examples, comparisons and analogies to help children understand the information. The bright and clear photographs have helped my grand-children comprehend how their bodies work, complimenting the written details. Some of the numerical information as well as more in-depth material needs the assistance of an adult as do the assignments; but what a wonderful way to bond with our children and grand-children.

      This book helps us to make wonderful memories, both in knowledge and as snapshots of fun times learning together!

      There is an up-dated version available but this one is available on Amazon from a penny! :~)

      Thank you for taking the time to read my review :~)

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