Even the broccoli and green peas sport happy smiles on their ways down the hatch in this effervescent tour of human body systems.
Veteran science writer Parker thoroughly digests the content of his many previous anatomical itineraries into a set of overviews. They begin with comments about body types and diversity, end with developmental snapshots from infant to pregnant mom, and in between look at how breathing, circulation, movement, digestion, and the (main) senses work, plus a plea for proper nutrition. But though he stirs mentions of many details into his smooth patter, he leaves a lot out of the picture: tendons, ligaments, cell biology, reproduction, hormones, immunity, and disease, for instance. He also tends to underestimate his audience, noting that we breathe “something called oxygen” and we smell “tiny specks of smell substances.” Similarly, Haslam’s bright and simple, high-energy, inside-and-outside cartoon body views keep the show rolling, but the large intestine fades away rather than ending in an anus, and the unlabeled tube below the bladder on the next spread runs disingenuously off the edge of the page. Still, attentive readers will get a gander at most of the main attractions and should do well on the two pop quizzes at the end and enjoy as a memento a dust jacket that unfolds into a colorful poster.
Skips a few stops but should leave young tourists with a taste for further outings into their innards. (Nonfiction. 7-9)