By Terri Schlichenmeyer
“Open Me Up” by various authors, c. 2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited, $24.99, 256 pages.
This year, your mom sent you to school with a big box of tissue, just like every other year. You keep it in your desk or locker, in case of sniffles.
Except this year, you’ve also got a bottle of hand-sanitizer and a bottle of liquid soap, and you might be wearing a mask before springtime. You don’t want to get sick, so maybe you’re getting a flu shot and you take a vitamin every morning with breakfast.
But you’re wondering. What’s going on inside your body, anyhow? How do germs you get on your hands make you sick in your stomach? Read the new book “Open Me Up” by various authors and you might be surprised.
We humans are pretty cool creatures. We feel a wide range of emotions and can think complex thoughts, make art, understand science and create ways to communicate. We are able to adapt to any climate. We may look basically alike – with two eyes, one nose, two ears and so on – but we’re very, very different in many ways. Your face and your eyes, for instance, are so unique to you that either can be used as “passwords.”
But as fascinating as your outside is, your innards are doubly so.
Take your appendix, for instance. It’s off to one side and doctors used to think it was a useless organ. They know now that, even though you can live quite nicely without one, your appendix actually works to keep you healthy.
Other parts of your body make sure you can stand, sit and walk. You would collapse if it wasn’t for your skeleton. If it wasn’t for the muscles that make up your butt, you wouldn’t be able to run or jump. Your brain can hold phone numbers, read maps, count coins and understand language, of both the oral and body types. What your tongue tastes can trigger memories in your mind and your eyes work with your ears and your feet to keep you from falling.
If you’re thirsty, hungry or tired, your body will tell you. And if anything goes wrong, your body will tell you that, too, with fever, sneezes and more.
Make no bones about it, your body is pretty impressive.
With all the reports of H1N1, MRSA and the alphabet soup of illness this fall, it’s easy to see why kids might get worried about what could happen. “Open Me Up” demystifies the human body and makes health issues easier to understand.
Starting with an overview and a look at medicine from centuries ago, this book lightly covers human anatomy and physiology, bodily quirks, cool science, the workings of doctors and other medical professionals, and new things on the horizon. Kids will also find tidbits and cartoon drawings that make this book seem less like learning and more like fun.
Excellent for middle-school readers, this is a good book to have around to answer questions that will inevitably come up in this season of Big Flu. “Open Me Up” is a book they’ll open again and again.