Subscribe to The Horn Book

Starring…the human body!

wicks_human body theaterA friendly human skeleton hosts Maris Wicks’s “nonfiction revue” Human Body Theater (First Second Books, October 2015), which covers just about everything concerning the human body. From atoms and cells to organs and systems, readers witness how the body works, in all its glory — and how viruses, bacteria, and fungi sometimes work against it.

Major “acts” include the skeletal system, the respiratory system, the immune system, and the cardiovascular system; details pop up in amusing scenarios throughout the revue as the skeleton cedes the stage to personified body parts and organisms. At revue’s end, the skeleton dresses in the various systems until it becomes a “fully formed human girl…all flesh and blood and bones and guts.”

It’s a lot to take in, particularly if a reader is not too familiar with the intricacies of the human body. Happily, the skeleton proves to be a good emcee. The tone throughout is informative and humorous, with a hint of gross-out realism. Information is rolled out at a nice pace, allowing room for careful exploration of each individual system. Wicks’s charming illustrations range from goofy to scientifically precise (sometimes at the same time). The inclusion of a glossary and a bibliography provides a chance for further exploration.

Overall, Human Body Theater is a good refresher for those who have forgotten about the nuances of the human body and an engaging introduction for developing human beings (also known as children and adolescents). If you’ve ever wanted to learn how food turns to poo as a peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich narrates the process, this is the book for you.

Share
Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind

*