There is a market for a simple physiology text for this age level -- the best in the field is still Dorothy Baruch's My Body...


FROM HEAD TO FOOT: Our Bodies & How They Work

There is a market for a simple physiology text for this age level -- the best in the field is still Dorothy Baruch's My Body and How It Works (published 1935). But Dr. Novikoff's book falls far short of meeting that need. The best one can say for it is that it meets both of the factors that characterize Young World Books- a modern approach and social awareness -- but meets them on what we feel is a wrong plane. There is a phony kind of simplification, which isn't simplification at all, but remains at college level in detail, approach and emotional content, while the format suggests a below-teen level. Even the completely adjusted mature and science-minded youngster would find much of the vocabulary beyond his reach. He would enjoy the scope of the factual content, the interesting historical and biographical material, the social notes, the curious bits of information. But for the average adolescent, it would be an unwise selection. The principal faults are serious. The author fails almost wholly to reach down to the needs of the average 12 to 15 year old, with his lack of factual background. The book opens with a rather sensational description of the use of a Geiger counter in a thyroid cancer operation. This pathological approach is used repeatedly to spark up subjects which we feel did not need the use of such emotionally unsound devices. The topic of menstruation is sufficiently interesting without the vivid details of how a section of uterus was grafted to a monkey's eyeball in order to observe the effect of the follicular hormone out in the open. Likewise enzyme secretion is vital without the surgery of a piece of stomach sewn onto a dog's neck to drip secretions visibly. Vitamins are discussed from the old medical school viewpoint, a negative rather than positive approach. Many of the topics, approached from the angle of body chemistry presupposes more knowledge of chemistry and allied science than most adults -- certainly most young people- have, and it adds up to a bewildering mass of unassimilated information, too loosely tied together for practical applications... In format the book gives an immediate impression of color and liveliness, but further examination proved disappointing, and at times disagreeable, to this reader anyhow. Examine before buying!

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: International

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1947

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