The Human Body

Biology for Every Kid

Author(s): 
Janice Van Cleave
Copyright: 
1990
Publisher: 
John Wiley and Sons
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
224 pages
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

In it's segment on "Experiments that Teach Us About Ourselves: The Amazing Human Body" this book provides 35 experiments about the body (the other segments of the book are about plant and animal life. While certainly not a comprehensive anatomy course, the book does provide interesting and simple experiments (which can easily performed at home with fairly ordinary materials) that would provide a helpful supplement to the study of anatomy.

Approximately one third of this book is devoted to "Experiments for the Beginning Biologist: The World of Plants". In the typical Van Cleave style, this segment provides 35 experiments relating to plant life that are simple and informative (and can easily be done in the home). Most experiments are designed to demonstrate certain properties of plant life (such as osmosis and diffusion, what causes plant stems to wilt, what makes plants burst when over-watered, and how water is transported through plant stems). Other experiments determine certain questions such as how plants take in nutrientsand whether it matters which direction seeds face when they are planted. Each experiments concludes with an explanation as to the "why" of the results. I find these simple but very helpful (even for moms!).

Another third or so of this book is devoted to "Experiments in the Animal Kingdom: Introductory Zoology". In the Van Cleave style, this segment provides sipmle experiments (easily performed at home) involving molds, fungi, mini-organisms, yeast, fireflies, butterflies and moths, spiderwebs, crickets, grasshoppers, flies, goldfish and earthworms. In addition to experiments involving observation and/or manipulation of these small creatures, you will find experiments which "illustrate" properties of creatures (such as a camouflage and suction) without actually working with animals.

Review Date: 
4-4-01
Reviewed by: 

My First Body Book

Book cover: 'My First Body Book'
Author(s): 
Melanie and Chris Rice
Copyright: 
1995
Publisher: 
Dorling Kindersley
Binding: 
Sewn Hardcover
Number of pages: 
32 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

This is a fun and very kid-friendly introduction to the body and its various functions and capabilities. It begins with a set of transparent overlays which portray the skeleton (skeletal system), the heart, lungs and blood (cardiovascular system), and the brain and nerves and digestive system. When I first got this book (back in the days when I was a DK representative for a short time) I worried that this book wouldn't hold up very well. After more than three years of use by little hands, I have to admit it's done quite well.

The rest of the book provides simple text, funny illustrations and the trademark DK photos covering the following topics: faces, skin and hair, muscles and bones, blood and heart, lungs and breathing, digestion, brain and nerves, eyes and seeing, ears and hearing, taste and smell, touch, growing up and "all about you."

The digestion is handled quite politely (no graphic pictures) and I was pleasantly surprised at how well the "growing up" section was handled. It begins with a very sweet and simple explanation of conception "A baby starts when a tiny sperm from the father joins with an egg inside the mother. The egg attaches itself to a part of the mother called the womb..." (pg. 29) and goes on to descriptions of the various stages of development of an unborn baby. Although the term fetus is mentioned, the baby is called a baby throughout the text!!! Again - no yucky pictures but not twaddly or dumbed-down either.

Review Date: 
3-17-01
Reviewed by: 

My Five Senses

Book cover: 'My Five Senses'
Author(s): 
Aliki
Copyright: 
1989
Publisher: 
Harper Collins
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
32 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

Aliki, in her classic - simple and charming - style, explains each of the five senses for preschoolers. Text and pictures explain what each of the senses is used for - "When I drink my milk and eat my food, I use my sense of taste. I am tasting." My children ask for this book over and over.

Additional notes: 

Copyrights 1962/1989

Review Date: 
3-17-01
Reviewed by: 

My Hands

Book cover: 'My Hands'
Author(s): 
Aliki
Copyright: 
1990
Publisher: 
Harper Collins
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
32 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

This is a nicely illustrated book for very young children on everything having to do with hands. The very simple text covers the names of the fingers (index, middle, etc.), the sense of touch, right or left-handed, the importance of thumbs and how different hands can be ("Daddy's hands are different from mine. They are big and rough and bony. Mother's hands are soft...") This is a charming little book for helping children appreciate how wonderfully they are made.

Additional notes: 

Copyrights 1962/1990

Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: 

My Temple of the Holy Spirit

Book cover: 'My Temple of the Holy Spirit'
Author(s): 
Katherine Rode, R.N.
Copyright: 
1998
Publisher: 
Catholic Heritage Curricula
Binding: 
Stapled Softcover
Number of pages: 
109 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

Subtitled a Catholic Science Hands On Program of the Human Body, this is a program best used with kids in grades 4 to 8. My Temple of the Holy Spirit is a very practical study of seven of the systems of the body from a Catholic and prolife perspective. It covers various systems of the body, but not the reproductive systems, the integumentary system, or all of the excretory system. It is thoroughly Catholic, with the Faith integrated throughout. It is user-friendly for both parent and child and very nonthreatening, even for those who are frightened of teaching science. A typical lesson has a list of terms with definitions that will be used later, the material to be learned with the vocabulary words underlined, a page of comprehension questions, a diagram to label, a list of supplementary activities, and Fun Facts. The supplementary activities range from Bible reading to field trips to experiments to research papers. The wide range of acitivities make it easy to adapt this program for students of different ages. Patterns and directions for making a life-sized human body outline with cloth organs are in the back of the book. So are several activities covering all the systems studied, which can be used as a final exam if desired. To use this program properly, it is essential to have access to a library or lots of science books.

This is not a full-year study nor one for high school. Bearing those limitations in mind, this Catholic, prolife, easy-to-use, hands on, multi-level, and inexpensive study on systems of the human body is an excellent choice for science study.
Update: This is no longer sold as an individual title, but is available as a component to the 4th grade lesson plans from Catholic Heritage Curricula

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: 

See How I Grow

Book cover: 'See How I Grow'
Author(s): 
Angela Wilkes
Copyright: 
1994
Publisher: 
Dorling Kindersley
Binding: 
Sewn Hardcover
Number of pages: 
32 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

This well-worn book has been kicked-around, chewed on and well-loved by my young children since my second oldest received it for Christmas just before the birth of his new baby sister (he was two at the time). The book is a photo-story of the author's daughter as she grows from a new baby to an active toddler. Each two-page shows a number of pictures of the baby doing whatever she does best at that given age. It's a very simple idea, although with my adult fussiness I would only complain that the pages are a bit busy and I sometimes wonder if my very young children understand that all the pictures are of the same baby.

While not a board book, the pages are extra thick and have held up pretty well considering the wear-and-tear in our household. In fact the only major damage so far is that the front and back end-pages have been torn-off (which happily did not damage the actual text of the book). This is really a pre-preschool book (Ages 1 - 4)

Reviewed by: 

The Heart

Book cover: 'The Heart'
Copyright: 
1996
Publisher: 
Mulberry Books
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
29 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

This is a fascinating and colorful look at the heart and the amazing job it performs. Computer-enhanced photos are used to illustrate the heart and the blood vessels while magnified images give us a close-up look at the blood. Also included are simpler illustrations showing the chambers of the heart, it's valves and arteries and the general make-up of arteries and veins and their valves. The text is simple enough to be understood by fairly young children (particularly as a read-aloud) but is written in such a way as to capture the awe and mystery of how our body works. It covers quite a bit of material in a fairly in-depth fashion - the basic workings and function of the heart, the various components of the blood, the various types and functions of the blood vessels, the basic path of the blood through the body, how the lungs work within the cardiovascular system, the role of white blood cells and some of the problems that people develop in their blood's circulatory system. An impressive, engaging and informative book.

Review Date: 
3-19-01
Reviewed by: 

Why I Sneeze, Shiver, Hiccup and Yawn

Book cover: 'Why I Sneeze, Shiver, Hiccup and Yawn'
Author(s): 
Melvin Berger
Copyright: 
2000
Publisher: 
HarperTrophy
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
32 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

A simple book with cartoon-like illustrations that explains reflexes and the related workings of the nerovus system - focusing, of course, on those four topics mentioned in the title. The story also invites children to try out a few simple experiments to observe reflexes for themselves. A "Find Out More" section provides "Things to Think About", additional "Test Your Reflexes" ideas and "Fun Facts".

Review Date: 
3-20-01
Reviewed by: