Caroline Dotson: ‘Human Body Book’ fashionably detailed
December 31, 2008
“Dr. Frankenstein’s Human Body Book,” by Richard Walker and Nick Abadzis, is new this year from DK Publishing.
DK Publishing is known for their highly informative nonfiction books geared toward children. “Dr. Frankenstein’s Human Body Book” is a brightly illustrated book featuring the human anatomy in a very detailed fashion.
Dr. Frankenstein takes the reader, who acts as the assistant, on a journey through the human body. From cells and atoms to the different systems that allow the body to properly function – central nervous, transportation, digestive and respiratory systems – every aspect of the human body is detailed with illustrations.
Here is a sampling of some of the packed-with-information 100 pages in the book.
The Bone Basics shows the different layers of a bone and explains the sponginess of bones, the red bone marrow and the osteon inside the bone. The skull also is illustrated with its 28 separate bones, and an X-ray of the ball-and-socket joint is shown.
The Nerves page shows an illustration of a cerebrum with all the communication cables known as nerves. Long nerve cells known as “axons of neurons” carry signals to and from the central nervous system. In the left corner of the page, a detailed illustration of insulated axons shows the axons inside a nerve bundle surrounded by a fatty sheath that increases the speed of the signals.
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This page also explains how the nerve structure is cushioned by flexible fat cells that don’t allow damage when the body moves. An illustration of the cranial nerves reaching to the parts of the face, mouth and teeth show how nerves send signals to different parts of the body. A scan of a synapse is shown on the bottom of the page showing how the neurons do not touch. The three types of neurons show how they communicate with each other.
Each complex organ is accurately illustrated, and a detailed description of its function is cleverly laid out, along with the progress of Dr. Frankenstein assistant (the reader). For example: the three different stages of a heartbeat are detailed along with a picture of the heartstrings found in the valves of the heart.
My description of “Dr. Frankenstein’s Human Body Book” does not do justice to the creativity or the fascinating, organized way the book is put together. The illustrations are intricately phenomenal and the way they are mixed with x-rays, CT scan images, bone scan images and angiograms gives this book a level of sophistication often not seen in children’s literature. Walker and Abadzis manage to keep the whole information package kid-friendly while providing accurate, information that children may not ever see or study in school. As an adult reading this book, I was reminded of how the human body works; I also learned many new things: Sneezing is air built up behind the vocal cords, and the sneeze gets rid of irritants; and white enamel – found on teeth – is the hardest material in the body.
I am excited to have a book like this to read with my boys as they grow older and become interested with the way their bodies work.