Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction
Dr. Frankenstein's Human Body Book

Dr. Frankenstein's Human Body Book

Fall 2008 Non-Fiction
Ages: 8 - 13 yrs.
Author: Richard Walker
Publisher: DK Publishing
ISBN: 9780756640910
Hardcover Price: $24.99
The subtitle--"The Monsterous Truth About How Your Body Works"-gives you a clue more about the hype than the content. So forget about stitches across the forehead, steel pins in temples, box-like feet and body parts borrowed from various victims and combined into literature's all-time most iconic monster. Mary Shelley's vivid imagination isn't really at work here.

This book doesn't make human anatomy scary. Instead, this is a fascinating study of the inner human body. All that's borrowed from Frankenstein besides the book's title is its mission to clarify with short to-the-point text and plenty of illustrations what's needed to "make a person." But the "make a person" here is science, not fiction.

Okay, the boldfaced lead paragraph on each page can sound like the not-so-good doctor wrote it himself. And that humorous touch adds a playfulness that'll keep kids reading. But most impressive, this glossy, hard-page book is straight-forward Anatomy 101. Reduced slightly in complexity for the younger reader, its short and surprisingly smart text blocks accompanying illustrations doesn't low-brow the subject. Chapters go body part by body part-such as "Bone Basics," "Skull," "Legs and Feet," "Central Nervous System" and "Stomach." It's all there.

Don Oldenburg   ©2008 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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