Last Week’s Books:
Then I read the informational text, The Book of Blood by HP Newquist. Doesn’t it have a great cover? Doesn’t the subtitle “From Legends and Leeches to Vampires and Veins” creep you out a bit? Well, no worries, this is pretty much a straight-up science book about what blood is, how it functions in our body, and how we have learned that throughout human history.
Very little time is spent on the “gee-whiz” or “that’s gross” kind of stuff I expected from the cover. A “Jennifer” over at Goodreads said that “Houghton Mifflin pulls a bit of a bait and switch with this one.” And I really have to agree. Had I gone in expecting a great science resource I would not have been disappointed in the very little time spent on the icky-ness and scariness of many things associated with blood. The couple of chapters about vampires and leeches were about history and misconceptions not about making the reader’s skin crawl. And I have to say that I do not blame the author, HP Newquist, in the least. Like Jennifer, I think the cover and subtitle were part of a marketing plan. Which, while clever, is likely to mislead the book’s intended middle-grade audience.
All that said, if you are looking for an informational text about blood, this is the one. Explanations are in-depth, but at a level of understanding for upper elementary and middle school students. Illustrations and photographs help illuminate concepts. Information is up-to-date. Back matter is complete.
Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin and Slob by Ellen Potter