OPEN WIDE

Painless dentistry is lightened with a dose of laughing gas. Fans of Keller’s wacky The Scrambled States of America (1999) will find this a fact-filled, sure-fire, kid-centric introduction to a familiar staple of the elementary school curriculum: dental health. Here, Keller’s inspired conceit—a “tooth” school “class” presided over by the single-minded Dr. Flossman—offers almost endless opportunities for kid-pleasing puns and clever classroom asides. The book begins with roll call of the “incoming” students: thirty-two teeth (eight incisors, four canines, eight premolars, twelve molars, and four wisdom). The “school” day then progresses through typical classroom routines: announcements (“GO CHOMPERS”), a lesson featuring a cross-section chart of a tooth, a student report on “Primary Teeth,” an “informative” video on the Tooth Fairy, group process (incisors together please!), lunch (followed by brushing and flossing, of course), a lesson on tooth decay and cavities, and student reports on the history of dentistry. Check out the funny but fact-based multiple choice and True/False tests (Keller thoughtfully provides the answers). Dynamic book design mimics the untutored artwork of a particularly fun-loving and terribly talented ten-year-old. Keller employs a busy mix of stamp-pad art, ruled paper, notebook sheets, acrylics, colored pencil, crayon, marker drawings, and collage. Spiced with ample cartoony little asides (featuring appropriately costumed, fully ambulatory, and pleasingly smart-mouthed talking teeth), Keller’s art delivers the “message” while entertaining, inviting close study and provoking belly laughs. A perfect gift for the dentist who has everything. Every waiting room (and library) needs a copy. (Picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8050-6192-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2000

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BEFORE YOU WERE BORN

THE INSIDE STORY

A well-intentioned description of life before birth. The illustrations make use of photographs (including ultrasound) and artist’s drawings, often in the same image, and these are well used to clarify the text. How babies grow and develop inside the womb is both described and illustrated, and while the tone is one of forced cheer, the information is sound. Also offered are quite silly exercises for children to experience what life in the womb might be like, such as listening to a dishwasher to experience the sounds a baby hears inside its mother’s body, or being held under a towel or blanket by an adult and wiggling about. The getting-together of sperm and egg is lightly passed over, as is the actual process of birth. But children may be mesmerized by the drawings of the growing child inside the mother, and what activities predate their birth dates. Not an essential purchase, but adequate as an addition to the collection. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2000

ISBN: 1-894379-01-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Firefly

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2000

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ON TOP OF MOUNT EVEREST

ELEVEN DISCOVERIES ABOUT THE HUMAN BODY AND OTHER EXPLORATIONS OF SCIENCE IN ACTION

In lightly revised articles that first appeared in Highlights, Myers looks at 11 topics in human biology, from hard-to-explain puzzlers like laughter and tongue rolling, to the deleterious effects of loud noises, ultraviolet rays and smoking. Boiling down (cited) research reports, he writes in fluent, informal prose, slipping in references to questions or comments received from children along with the occasional statistic or scientific term. Though he sounds several cautionary notes—particularly about the dangers of cigarettes, which Boyles backs up with a chapter on smoking as an addiction among young people—the overall tone is light, bucked up by Rice’s colorful diagrams and cartoon vignettes, plus a lively photo or two. Consistently attentive to the interests of his intended audience, Myers is one of the most engaging science writers around; here he’s in top form, and rare is the reader who will be able to resist his invitation to see what makes us, and the world, tick. (bibliography) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-59078-252-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2005

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