My Pop-Up Body Book

My Pop-Up Body Book
Jennie Maizels and William Petty
Walker Books

Who doesn’t love a pop-up book especially when it includes SO much learning in such a fun way as this one written by William Petty and illustrated by Jennie Maizels.

It contains a wheel, flaps, even a handful of small books within the main book; and all in just five incredible spreads whereon David Hawcock’s paper engineering is awesome. Scattered throughout the spreads are simply masses of bite-sized chunks of information, some hand lettered by the illustrator.

The level of interactive opportunities is incredible: readers can follow the development of a baby in the mother’s womb by rotating the wheel;

the thoracic skeleton positively leaps out of the pages, and the chambers of a heart can be revealed beneath a flap. Did you know that the heart of a girl beats faster than that of a boy?

The central pop-up from each spread reveals in turn, a baby, the head and organs on and within – a nose mini book lets you emit green snot from the nostrils;

the chest, the tummy and intestines (you can even track poo on the move) and finally, the whole skeleton. There is SO much to explore and discover on every one of the spreads.

An absolutely superb introduction to the body and its biology – its form, functions, growth and repair; and a terrific production, creative, clever and totally fascinating. Delve into this and children will see that they share much more in common with one another than any superficial differences.

Strongly recommended for the family shelves and classroom collection.

Argh! There’s a Skeleton Inside You! / A Cat Called Trim

Allen & Unwin offer some unusual ways of presenting information in these two non-fiction books

Argh! There’s a Skeleton Inside You!
Idan Ben-Barak and Julian Frost
Allen & Unwin

Quog (a blobbly armless thing) and Oort (a gas cloud) are in their spacecraft going to a party but mechanical issues hold things up. They need to get out and fix the problem but without hands or arms, opening the door isn’t possible. Or is it? That’s when the narrative becomes interactive – the reader turns the page and … out they come.

‘Give Quog and Oort a wave,’ we’re told and a page turn reveals Quog has grown arms and hands. That’s a good start but there are further issues.

Little by little youngsters are then introduced to the bones,

muscles …

and nerves of the hand – their form and function.

With simple, bright, lively illustrations, this, zany mix of fact and fiction is enormously engaging: little humans will love the idea of helping the little aliens reach their destination, and in so doing learning some basic human biology – anatomy and physiology – as presented by the clever human team Idan Ben-Barak (author/scientist) and illustrator Julian Frost.

A Cat Called Trim
Corinne Fenton and Craig Smith
Allen & Unwin

‘Trim was a cat born for adventure.’ That he surely was having been born aboard the sailing ship Reliance bound for Botany Bay and then not long after, finds himself hurtling over the side of the ship into the inky depths of the Indian Ocean.

Happily for the kitten and his saviour Matthew Flinders, a special relationship is forged, with Trim accompanying his master on all his expeditions until the fateful day when Flinders was accused of spying, his precious books, charts and journals confiscated and he became a prisoner on the Isle de France (Mauritius).

After a while Trim disappeared and his master never saw him again.

Both educative and entertaining, Corinne Fenton’s telling of this true story is compelling and accompanied by Craig Smith’s dramatic, detailed illustrations, and maps, makes for an absorbing starting point for primary readers interested in Australia and its history.

Professor Astro Cat’s Human Body Odyssey

Professor Astro Cat’s Human Body Odyssey
Dominic Walliman and Ben Newman
Flying Eye Books

It’s time to join Professor Astro Cat and his crew on another amazing journey, no not a blast into the depths of outer space, rather a dive into a much more confined space, our very own bodies. Pretty awesome machines they are too; and one body in particular, that of test subject Dr Dominic Walliman. We join him and of course, Professor Astro Cat and his pals in a close up look at human biology.

First off they remind us of the seven characteristics of living things and we discover why we’re not robots!

Thereafter comes a look at our cellular structure, our skeleton, our muscles – did you know we have more than 640 intricately arranged skeletal muscles. Further investigations require the gang to become microscopic to check out our skin, our sensory organs; (our teeth as well as our tongue are inspected within the mouth).

Of course, without our brains we’d be pretty much unable to function, so next we take a look at that complex supercomputer-like mass– its composition, its functioning and how it operates in conjunction with the nervous system.

Other vital organs we learn about are the lungs, blood – not an organ but vital nonetheless, the heart, and those dealing with digestion and excretion.

There’s a page each on the lymphatic system,

the endocrine system and the immune system, all of which are crucial for a fully functioning body.

Reproduction, human development and genetics have a double spread each and since it’s vital to keep healthy, the Prof provides info. on that topic too, as well as touching upon medicine and what to do if we’re poorly.

The concluding topics are ‘Impairments’, which shows how incredibly adaptable both our bodies and minds are, and we even get a glimpse into how future technologies might change humankind – wow!

All this is presented in a splendidly visual format similar to Walliman and Newman’s previous Astro Cat science offerings. It’s packed with information, enormous fun and with a final index, this is altogether a terrific book on a topic that fascinates almost every child I’ve ever come across.