CM . . .
. Volume xxi Number 25 . . . . March 6, 2015
From the “How The Human Body Works” series of media enhanced books, readers are afforded an intimate look into the systems and structures of the human body. The first two offerings of this six volume series explore the fundamental workings of the cardiovascular and skeletal systems. Although a similar form is shared across each book, all content, except for a series opening section, is title specific. Sections follow a logical progression and order, moving from general information to more specific functions and concepts. For example, the questions: “What is the Skeletal System?” and “How Does it Work?” are posited (and answered) before any in depth discussion of the skull, spine, arms and hands, legs and feet are undertaken. Likewise, the subjects of blood types and blood pressure are reserved until after an examination of the heart and its function is revealed. More practical based knowledge is included with sections advising on “Keeping Healthy” and “Careers”. Each book is rounded out with a quiz and an activity as well as a glossary and index.
Straightforward sentence structure and language are used throughout; the text, however, does possess an American slant often utilizing American based statistics and favouring the use of imperial measurements ahead of standardized metric units. Sidebars impart valuable and relevant information in support of the main text; colourful, clearly labelled, and detailed diagrams supplement comprehension. Photo illustrations, while sparse, create interest and visual appeal, as do the abundant use of stylized graphics, vibrant backgrounds, and bolded fonts which appropriately denote the importance of key words and headings.
The enhanced media features, accessed via a unique book code, promise, among other things, an enriched audio visual experience (allowing readers to read along with the physical book), supplementary videos and weblinks, and quizzes. Unfortunately, this resource (as of yet, at least) lacks an acceptable level of quality. Much of the content featured (quizzes and activities) has been simply ripped from the books wholesale, and that which is new is not particularly original, but it instead links to other sources encouraging only passive learning. The worksheets provided, likewise, promote only rote memorization (without ever revealing any of the answers). Most concerning of all, perhaps, is that the read along audio component is incomplete.
Taken as a whole, The Cardiovascular System and The Skeletal System books of the “How The Human Body Works” series fall short of expectations. A shame considering that the physical books themselves are rather good and would otherwise perform well among middle school grade students as supplements to in class teachings or in independent study.
Recommended with Reservations.
Andrew Laudicina is a MLIS graduate from the University of Western Ontario in London; he currently resides in Windsor, ON.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any
other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.