In this engaging and surprisingly informative series, digital drawings offer visual tours inside human body. Using correct terminology, the clearly written text conveys information in small, easy-to handle word boxes that relate directly to the simplified, but clearly delineated drawings of body parts. Cells and organs are occasionally depicted as friendly little characters with rounded bodies, a few facial features, and skinny arms and legs. These characters cavort through the comics-style panels as they demonstrate their jobs and make occasional comments in speech balloons. Circulatory features cells with straws slurping oxygen and nutrients from the blood as it flows past. In Digestive, the talking liver character uses a refrigerator and a mop to demonstrate that it stores nutrients and cleans wastes from the blood. Endocrine offers an easy-to-absorb presentation of matters as varied as glands, the body’s responses to stress, and the reproductive system. Skeletal includes information about the parts, functions, and workings of these vital systems. The latest additions to the Building Blocks of Science series, these books are available from the publisher only as part of the full 8-book set. But the combination of simple text, clear illustrations, and cartoonlike characters makes this a useful and uncommonly accessible series.
—Carolyn Phelan From Booklist
The creative duo of Joseph Midthun and Samuel Hiti has designed a third set of highly-engaging reference books in the cartoon format for World Book. (See reviews in Catholic Library World, vol. 82, no. 3, p. 243 and vol. 83, no. 3, p. 235). This Life Science series is sure to be as successful and well-received as the earlier Math and Physical Science sets. Whimsical figures describe basic concepts and functions of the systems of the human body in an understandable sequence of color cartoons. The speech balloons, which contain over-sized, easy-to-read text, help make learning fun for young children. The graphic design will also assist students as they learn to comply with the Common Core standards requiring them to reason more and explain their answers. All drawings, especially those of the reproductive and urinary systems, are simplified and suitable for basic education. In addition to twenty-five pages of “cartoon dialogue,” each volume also contains a glossary, a list of both print and online related resources, and an index. Titles of the first seven volumes reflect the system(s) presented in that book, i.e. The Circulatory System, The Nervous System, etc. The eighth book, which describes the workings of the immune system, is appropriately entitled Fighting Sickness. In that volume, educators will appreciate the clever explanations of bacteria, viruses, vaccines, and antibiotics — topics they cover multiple times during the year! This excellent resource should be included in elementary/intermediate school libraries and all public library collections. Highly recommended. Ages 6-12.
Jean Elvekrog, Catholic Library World, 2014
Gr 4-8 –Combining well-written text with a graphic-novel format, this innovative series supplies adolescents with authoritative information about the human body. Each page presents two to five cartoon frames with captions. Parts such as brains, cells, and neurons are represented by cartoonish characters who spew authoritative facts captured in speech bubbles. These titles directly tackle myths and misconceptions and make use of analogies to facilitate the discussion of complex concepts. For example, the author compares possible artery damage caused by high blood pressure compared to how bicycle tires will explode when overfilled with air and compares red bone marrow to “a factory that produces cells vital for supporting life.” Although somewhat unconventional because of its format, this series will be a welcome addition to most collections.
If you are looking for titles that describe every part of the body in an easy-to-follow manner, this set is for you. The layout of each volume is a graphic novel with illustrations of talking body parts and cells leading students through the system they are exploring. It allows for an easy understanding of our complex bodies. Reproduction is mentioned in detail in several of the books. Teachers can use specific parts of the books to supplement their teaching. Overall, this is a great set with a lot of valuable information for middle and upper grade levels. Bibliography. Glossary. Websites. Table of Contents. Index.
-Neely Swygert, Teacher/Librarian, Batesburg-Leesville (South Carolina) Elementary School
-Library Media Connection
About the Illustrator:
Sam Hiti is very tall, but of average height when sitting at his drafting table. He has been drawing comics full time independently since 2004. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife, two children, and his tiny dog.
About the Author:
Joseph Midthun was born in a small mining town in central Minnesota. He attended the Perpich Center for Arts Education and Columbia College in Chicago. He is currently editor-in-chief at La Luz Comics and lives in St. Paul.