Marvellous Body

Marvellous Body
Jane Wilsher and Andrés Lozano
What on Earth Books

The focus of the second in the ingenious Magic Lens Book series is the human body and its inner workings.

Our bodies are amazing: that, emerges loud and clear from this book. The author confirms it in the opening spread 24-hour body where we read, ‘The body eats and drinks for energy. It learns and daydreams too. Then it sleeps. The body grows and keeps on changing.’ Even that straightforward paragraph gives young readers plenty to think about and it’s good to see the reminder that everyone is different too.

The rest of the spreads are more specific, the first being about the brain, the body’s HQ – what each part does and how it functions. There’s a ‘Find It Box’ in the bottom corner of this and on most other of the spreads, asking the reader to use the magic lens and find the items listed – that’s lots of fun learning. The function of each of the five senses is simply and concisely explained in a large fact box and smaller ones provide a considerable, but never overwhelming, amount of information.

Eyes, ears, then the nose and tongue are the focus of the next three spreads. I found Andrés Lozano’s illustration for Nose and Tongue particularly amusing.

Teeth (which includes dental health), then Skin and Hair come next, followed by bones. Prepare to be confronted by a large skeleton …

Did you know that over half the bones in the body are in the hands and feet? That’s more than one hundred: check the clear diagram.

No matter which system or part of the body you want to find out about, if you have an interest in staying healthy and happy, or in the medicines doctors are busy inventing right now, then there’s something on the topic here; and the clarity of each explanation given is first-rate. Enticing, exciting and a rewarding learning experience, and you couldn’t make a non-fiction book for children more interactive than this.

The Encyclopaedia of Unbelievable Facts

The Encyclopaedia of Unbelievable Facts
Jane Wilsher and Louise Lockhart
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

Many of us turn red in the face when feeling embarrassed but have you ever wondered about your insides? Embarrassment causes adrenaline to be produced and this helps increase blood flow, one consequence of which is that the stomach lining becomes red, so we blush both internally and externally.

Equally amazing is that our hair contains minute traces of gold, with babies having more than adults. Both are covered in the Human Body the opening part of this unusual encyclopaedia of trivia.

In case you’ve ever wondered what astronauts do with their dirty laundry, what happens to their wee, or what happens when an astronaut wants to scratch an itchy nose while wearing a space helmet, you’ll discover the answers along with those to over 45 more questions in the Space section of this book.

It’s not only STEM topics that are included herein though. There are sections entitled Customs & Culture, Our World and finally Arts & Entertainment. If you want to know Donald Duck’s middle name, you’ll find the answer there.

For each theme Louise Lockhart provides a wealth of offbeat, stylish illustrations, mostly small but some whole page ones too.

No matter whether you want to ask questions in a quiz with your friends or family, or just fancy dipping in to discover some new factual bits and pieces, then here’s a book for you; this reviewer certainly learned a fair bit.

Marvellous Machines

Marvellous Machines
Jane Wilsher and Andrés Lozano
What on Earth Books

This book comes with a detachable ‘magic lens’ embedded inside its front cover that enables readers to look into buildings and the inner workings of all manner of mechanical things large and small, relatively simple as well as highly complex.

This is achieved by focussing the lens on the areas of red patterning (stippling, cross hatching or brickwork) which then disappears to show such things as the energy connections powering all kinds of machines in the kitchen, robots at work,

the insides of a container ship, a submarine, a space station …

and even a human body.

The book concludes with some thought-provoking questions.

Mechanically-minded youngsters especially will love the opportunity to peek into various components of a space station and to use the lens to hunt for the dozen items listed in the ‘find it’ panel on the relevant spread, or to do likewise in and around the cyclists on the jet aeroplane and “Bicycle’ spreads.

As well as anything else, this book reminds younger users of the enormous wealth of machines we rely on in our daily lives and to discover something about how they function.