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I recently read another member's review for this book, and as we were getting ready to start a unit study on the human body, decided to give this book a try. It ended up a very good choice, and of all the books I have on the human body, this is probably the most often read now.
I believe this book is designed for ages 4-8, if a parent will be reading it, or ages 8+ for a child to read on their own. My two year old does really enjoy this book as well though. The pages are of very sturdy card and even the flaps are thick and well made. Of course at age two he will not understand a lot of this book, and if I am only reading this to him, I skip many of the facts and simplify others. But in spite of technically being to young for the book, I do feel that he gets enough out of it to be worth the purchase price, even if this book were only for him. So my age recommendation on this book would be for ages 2-11.
"See Inside Your Body is 16 pages long. It includes sections on eating and excreting ( an absolute favourite here, as children seem fascinated by pee and poo, especially the two year old), breathing, circulation, bones and muscles, the brain, the 5 senses, and drinking and weeing. There is also a small glossary at the end of the book with 8 words that children are likely to be unfamiliar with, such as Metacarpal and cochlea. Each pair of pages will have one or two large drawings with all sorts of flaps to lift and learn more about each part. For instance you can see the heart valves opened and closed, look inside the brain and see messages jumps from one neuron to another, or the all time favourite here lift a flap and see very realistic looking lump of poo being squeezed out. There are small pictures clustered all around the main drawings each giving some new fact in terms easily understood by young children. My sons liked the part where it explains that messages travel through your nerves faster than a high speed train. I find this much more helpful then just saying x number of miles per hour, because I doubt children can visualise this. All together there are over 50 flaps to lift in this book and a wealth of information. Even as an adult, i have to admit to learning a few things, or perhaps just remembering things learned in childhood and long forgotten. I found this book exceptionally well written, well illustrated and extremely informative.
As mentioned in a previous review, this book is gender neutral, but I prefer it that way. I think my sons would be apt to feel uncomfortable if it displayed too much of certain areas, and I know I would have felt embarrassed to read this as a child if certain parts were visible. Of course this means reproduction is not covered, but I prefer to wait on such topics and discuss them only after a child displays some curiosity about such things. I think by leaving this out, the book is more suitable for a wide variety of settings, such as a classroom and a wider age range.
Both of my boys enjoyed this book, and the fact that they pull it down from the bookshelf themselves to look through is proof enough to me that they do find this interesting. I really believe all the flaps and interactive parts make it easier to understand and remember what they learn through this book, and my six year old seems to have a very good concept of how parts of the body work and what functions they serve. My oldest son also asked a lot of questions while listening to this , and made a number of comments. He pointed out that the cochlea looks like a snail - as it does. He also called his father over and showed him the flap of what smoking does to the lungs. I have found this book an excellent resource for home education, but I also think it would be very nice for any child to have to learn about their body and how it works. I know my sons get a fair amount of entertainment form this book, and will continue to learn from it for quite some time, so I think this was a very useful addition to our bookshelf.
One of the reasons I bought this book though was that the previous reviewer mentioned a site in the book for parents and children to go online and learn more through Usborne quick links. This link was not in the particular edition I bought. Of course it was no great loss as I simply went back to her review, looked up the site and bookmarked it. I do think this a very helpful addition to the book and well worth taking a look through, however, I will not put the link here as the only reason I have it is another members review. Instead I would advise anyone reading this and interested in checking out the link ( which has all sorts of good info even if you do not buy the book) to please read the lovely review by noodlesandwich and find the link there as I did. I do think it is shame it is not printed in the book though, as people who have not read the reviews may not know about it otherwise. Other than that, I really can not find any fault in this book. It is an ideal book for children to explore and learn about how their bodies work.
I would recommend this book for all young children really. I believe having a wide variety of educational books like this available really helps children to learn and develop, and as mentioned earlier, I would recommend for very young children as well. I also think this book would perfectly suited to the primary classroom as the simple drawings and easy to understand text would make this the perfect resource to help children understand how the body works.
The self-explanatory entitled 'See Inside Your Body' is a lift-the-flaps book by Usborne. It's a hardback with stiff cardboard pages that have thin card flaps. My three year old has owned this since Christmas. Like a lot of young children, she's very interested in how the body works and what goes on inside it, so it seemed like a good present idea.
It has clear, meticulously drawn, colourful diagrams with lots of detail. There are 15 pages on which the body's major functions are dealt with, ( the reproductive system is conspicuously absent). Some are double page spreads; the bones and muscles page is particularly striking, although, as might be expected, my little one claims to like the 'eating and pooing' page the best, (complete with lift the flap and see the poo feature).
A couple of the flaps have become torn at the edges due to overenthusiastic handling, but overall they have held up very well so far, they're not too flimsy and slot back into place when the book is closed. There are around four flaps per page, over fifty in the book. Some of the pictures under flaps have been magnified for detail and these are identified, (logically), by a magnifying glass symbol.
Although there aren't that many pages there is a lot of information in here. As well as the main diagrams, there are several mini-scenes used to demonstrate facts on each page. For example, on the 'Pumping blood' page, amongst several other characters, is a running man with sweat dripping off him who illustrates the point that; 'In one day your blood travels an unbelievable 19,000km (12,000 miles).'
1. Your amazing body (an overview of what is to come)
2. Eating and excreting
4. Breathing air
6. Pumping blood
8. Bones and muscles
10. Brain power
12. The senses
14. Drinking and weeing
15. Body words (a re-explaining of some of the unusual words used throughout the book)
Background Photographs - The backdrops on each page are tinted photographs of parts of the body. This isn't something that stands out at first glance, they are very much in the background, but it's a thoughtful extra touch and something else for children to find interest in. Examples are villi in the background to the eating and excreting page, and muscle makes up the background to the bones and muscle page.
On the back page there is a website link given, (http://www.usborne-quicklinks.com, then type 'See Inside Your Body' into the search box), that leads to a list of links to websites that teach children about the body. I had a quick look at these and there are some interesting sites for children to look at more pictures, play games, quizzes etc, (again no sex organs to be found).
My daughter's preferred way of reading this is to read it with an adult and go through each page lifting flaps, asking questions and having lots of it read to her. This takes a good hour at least which means that for me, it can be boring and time consuming to read with her, but at least it's educational - I've learned a lot from it! Obviously, an older child who can read will interact differently with it, but for us, this book has become something we do together, my daughter rarely spends much time looking at it on her own.
~Don't Mention the Unmentionables~
From a commercial point of view I understand the reluctance of the publishers to include the reproductive system in this book. I understand some people would find this controversial but I think children take these things in their stride and it wouldn't be an issue if it weren't made into one by adults. Personally I would have no problem with discussing any body parts that my daughter was interested in, but I suppose there's the chance that she might read it with some other relatives who would be mortified at the thought of discussing certain body parts with her. Whilst I don't see this absence as a big problem, I do wonder if it perhaps gives gives the message that some things are unmentionable. Actually, it has just occurred to me that the drinking and weeing page is modelled on a female body, so perhaps that might provoke anatomical questions from little boys.
I can't think of any other major absences; there was no mention of the pancreas, and the spleen is seen on one diagram but with no explanation as to what it does. In general though, all the major body parts are covered. It may not be a comprehensive guide to the human body, but it's a good starting point for a child.
~Alveoli Ice Cream~
Children put their own slant on things, for example my daughter thinks Alveoli, (air sacs in the lungs), look like ice cream so every time she lifts that flap she pretends to eat some ice cream. Whilst this could indicate that she is too young to fully understand it, it doesn't stop her enjoyment and sometimes she startles me with the level of understanding she shows.
I was right about it being a good present choice, it's had plenty of use, my daughter loves it. I had wondered if it might be too old for her, but if she doesn't know what something means she never tires of asking. She has surprised me by the level of questions she asks actually, I can't always answer them, ("What happens to the germ after the white blood cell has gobbled it up?"). Maybe it will provide a good grounding for when she eventually comes to study biology at school. I think this is ideal for preschoolers who will come to it with a fresh mind and be interested. I would say it would also be fine for primary school children, but there is also the possibility that older children may find it too much like a school book. The little cartoon style pictures help in that respect to make it seem a little less like a text book.
This book will answer lots of the questions children ask about their body and may well teach grown-ups a thing or two as well. Having read this on several occasions now, I hope the knowledge imprinted on my brain will come in handy one day, ( Did you know you have 27 bones in each hand?). As a gift it could be used to complement other present choices such as a doctor's kit or microscope, (this is what we did although it was accidental rather than planned).
Usborne are a major UK publishing company who have been around for nearly forty years now, and specialize in books for children of all ages. The credits on this book are to author Katie Daynes and illustrator Colin King, both of whom have worked on similarly styled non fiction Usborne books. Inside, credit is given to Laura Parker for design and 'human body expert' Dr Zoe Fritz MBBS MRCP. Technically excellent, I couldn't argue with the accuracy of this book or improve on the design.
Details: Hardcover; 16 pages, Publisher; Usborne Publishing Ltd (28 Jan 2006), Product Dimensions; 27.8 x 22.4 x 1.8 cm, Cover price; £9.99, available at the time of writing for £5.99 from Amazon.co.uk