A picture-book history of human anatomy and physiology for a young age group—can anyone breathe life into this challenging concept?
Colorful cartoonlike illustrations combine with brief text to provide a history of misunderstandings of human anatomy and physiology that often served to misdirect medical care in the past. The refrain, “Boy, were they wrong!” concludes many spreads. Some of the themes explored: ancient Egyptians’ belief that the heart was the site of the personality; the commonly held misconception that many illnesses could be cured by bloodletting; acupuncture, which is later revealed as one of the “ancient ideas that work”; the idea that eyes produced light that captured images; and the belief that four types of humors filled the body and their imbalance was the source of illness. Each of these is described in a sentence or two and accompanied by a humorous, never-gory illustration, juxtaposed against a follow-on double-page spread that explains, very simply, the actual way the body works. The final few pages explore recent ideas and technologies, including information about DNA and a description of some unnamed imaging techniques. The fourth in the series, this clever entry is just as amusing and informative as the rest. A timeline that lists numerous highly significant medical advances, also—whimsically?—includes the 1921 invention of the Band-Aid.
Accurate, informative, and surprisingly enjoyable. (Informational picture book. 5-9)