Quill & Quire
Don’t let the wacky title or madcap illustrations fool you: veteran science writer Diane Swanson takes on a serious task in her new book, You Are Weird
. Most kids are well aware that the human body is full of the “peculiar parts and funny functions” of the book’s subtitle, so presenting yet another gross-out book is no big deal. Instead, the real challenge lies in holding a young audience’s interest by backing up the various icky elements of the human body with solid science, and explaining it all in such a way that shows how all those seemingly bizarre parts and functions are really elements of a comprehensive system that keeps us living and breathing. Swanson accomplishes this brilliantly. She begins with a two-page spread on the general weirdness of the human body and follows that with 16 similar spreads on topics ranging from bacteria to teeth to muscles to toes, each describing some unusual (and often downright creepy) aspect of our anatomy with a concise, scientific explanation that still manages to entertain. (Example: every one of us has a well-developed tail when we are embryos – it’s actually bigger than our still-growing legs – that eventually disappears as we develop into babies. Some people, though, are actually born with tails that never did disappear.) Swanson combines these explanations with pull-out boxes that expand on some aspect of the topic under discussion, and, in many cases, also includes a “freaky fact” just to keep things really lively. All of this excellent narrative material combines fantastically with Kathy Boake’s semi-realistic cartoon style to provide a mix that’s as visually attractive as it is informative. You Are Weird’s well-presented science is sure to be an instant hit with any young reader looking for more than just ewww, and is bound to be excellent fodder for all manner of school projects.
... this chatty, interactive humorous science book makes human physiology accessible and interesting ...
Sure to appeal to odd bods of all ages.