November 17, 2017

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Human Body Theater by Maris Wicks | SLJ Review

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humanbodytheaterWicks, Maris. Human Body Theater. illus. by Maris Wicks. 240p. bibliog. further reading. glossary. websites. First Second. Oct. 2015. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781596439290.

Gr 4-8–A playfully engaging skeleton emcee introduces the parts of the body and their systems as part of an informational stage revue in this clever overview of human biology. Panels, word balloons, and cartoon illustrations provide strong visuals, while each chapter covers a different biological system in a logical, well-organized fashion, with an initial overview that leads into more specific details—though the lack of an index makes this less effective as a source for reports. The skeleton interjects context, makes connections to previously mentioned facts, and establishes a lighthearted tone. The cast of characters includes walking, talking, and sometimes wisecracking body parts, as well as food, viruses, blood cells, and other body-related items, which inject humor as they interact with the skeleton host. The food particle who wishes for a parachute as it exits the rectum, for instance, is funny but also accurately demonstrates this bodily function. The jokes never become too frantic and are always relevant. The skeleton also presents pertinent tips about safety, nutrition, and puberty. While the human body has been covered in sequential art format before, this title does an excellent job of balancing the comedy and the facts while offering a comprehensive look at how body parts work on their own and as part of the whole biological system. VERDICT A delightful and enlightening addition to nonfiction graphic novel collections.–Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville Public Library, OR

This review was published in School Library Journal‘s September 2015 issue.

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