Books & Literature

Book Review: Wow in the World: The How and Wow of the Human Body, by Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz

CHILDREN’S BOOK: Featuring hilarious illustrations and filled with facts, jokes, photos, quizzes and experiments, The How and Wow of the Human Body has everything you need to better understand your own walking, talking, barfing, breathing, pooping body of WOW!

A fun, informative guide to the human body, from top to bottom, inside and out.

Did you know the average human body has over 100,000 hairs, and 100 of these fall out every day? Ever wondered why you can’t tickle yourself? Curious about why babies are born with 300 bones but grown-ups only have 206?

Authors Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz are the hosts of the phenomenally successful children’s podcast Wow in the World, which promises to take listeners on a journey away from their screens to venture “deep into the coolest new stories in science, technology, and innovation”. Both Thomas and Raz are accomplished creators and presenters of radio and audio programs and are co-founders of Tinkercast, delivering inspirational podcasts and activities that encourage families to use their imagination and follow their curiosity.

In their new book Wow in the World: The How and Wow of the Human Body, Thomas and Raz explore the body “from your tongue to your toes and all the guts in between”. Via a collection of facts, jokes, quizzes, and experiments, readers are taken on a top-to-bottom tour of their insides and outsides.

The 188-page hardback book is divided into eight parts covering different areas of the human body and its systems. We meet the “baby body parts”—the parts of ourselves that exist in a state of constant renewal (think blood cells, taste buds, epidermis). We’re introduced to the immune system and the ways in which it helps keep us safe (there’s even a mention of COVID-19). We get to know our cells and platelets, learn how to check our pulse and calculate our resting heart rate in the exploration of the circulatory system. The incredible multitasking abilities of our skin are revealed, along with fascinating facts about our eyebrows, earwax and emotions.

Jack Teagle’s bright and fun cartoon-style illustrations are bursting with colour, enabling lots of information to be presented in a range of eye-catching styles. The book design attracts and holds attention with well-spaced text arranged in easy-to-digest chunks, perfect for dipping in and out (readers are encouraged to make their own way through the book as they follow their interests).

Adults in the family will learn a lot, too. The content is chock-full of useful details that many of us have probably forgotten (or never learned in the first place). Other inclusions are a glossary, an index, a bibliography, and source notes along with suggestions for recommended further reading and listening.

Readers are invited to write a thank-you letter to their body to reflect on their favourite bits and make a promise to take care of them. They’ll also be introduced to what’s “normal” and what might not be, and how to spot signs that need further investigation and identify when a trip to the doctor is recommended. It’s a frank but friendly introduction to our often smelly, messy (and embarrassing) bodily functions while providing tips for keeping everything healthy and working smoothly.

Wow in the World: The How and Wow of the Human Body breaks down complex processes into steps to offer a simplified, child-friendly explanation of what’s going on inside of us. It’s a helpful and entertaining journey through our body and its inner workings.

You can keep up with the Wow in the World podcast here.

Reviewed by Jo Vabolis
Twitter: @JoVabolis

Distributed by: Pan Macmillan Australia
Released: 2 March 2021
RRP: $29.99

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