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SEEING RED by Tanya Lloyd Kyi


The True Story of Blood

by Tanya Lloyd Kyi & illustrated by Steve Rolston

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: June 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-55451-385-7
Publisher: Annick Press

An irreverent if anemic survey of the red stuff’s roles in human culture, from Galen to the Twilight series.

The information is presented beneath drippy red borders and splattered with both jokey cartoon illustrations and graphic-novel style episodes featuring a hoodie-clad researcher who hooks up with a hot young vampire. Kyi’s report opens with a slashing overview of early medical theories about the circulatory system and closes with superficial speculations about why The Hunger Games and news stories about violent crimes are so popular. In between, it strings together generalities about blood rites in cultures from Matausa to our own Armed Forces and religions from Roman Catholicism to Santeria. The author also takes stabs at blood-based foods, the use of blood (particularly menstrual blood) in magic and modern forensic science, medical bloodletting, hereditary hemophilia in Europe’s ruling class, vampirism, and other topics in the same vein. But readers seeking at least a basic transfusion of information about blood’s physical functions or component elements will come away empty. Moreover, the trickle of specific facts doesn’t extend to, for instance, naming the site of a prehistoric sacrifice stone on which traces of gore have been found or even, despite repeated reference to blood types, actually identifying—much less discussing—them.

A colorful but superficial ooze of anthropology, with a few drops of biology mixed in. (further reading, sources, index) (Nonfiction. 11-13)