Thursday, April 26, 2012

Joe Kaufman's Big Book About the Human Body

As a special treat for any Vintage Children's Books My Kid Loves readers who might stop by today, here's a third Joe Kaufman Big science book, following on About How Things Work and About Earth and Science. I had this book as a child and I read it over and over and over again. I could have scanned something from nearly every page, but I mostly selected images that not only stuck with me all this time but were recalled with regularity during the intervening years.

In case anyone's counting, Joe Kaufman's Big Book About the Human Body is Golden Press publication 16843; it was originally published under the title Joe Kaufman's How We are Born, How We Grow, How Our Bodies Work, and How We Learn; and the LOC description reads: "Introduces the parts of the body and their functions and discussions relevant topics such as health, heredity, dreams, and food."

The introductory note on the table of contents page reads: "A NOTE TO PARENTS: This book has been designed to give children an understanding of their bodies--and to help parents answer the many questions they ask. It provides a basic introduction to all the body structures and their functions, and also covers a variety of related topics. The book is primarily for young readers from six to twelve, who will find ideas and concepts to fascinate them at every stage of their growth. The whole family, in fact, will enjoy reading and sharing the information offered here."

The topics listed in the table of contents are: Early ideas about the body, the newborn baby, a baby begins, the baby-to-be, heredity, growing up, cells, bones (including skull, rib cage, pelvis, spine, leg bones, arm bones), evolution, muscles (including chest, back, arm, leg, neck, foot, organ and face muscles), exercise, hands, organs, heart, blood, circulation, lungs, voice, mouth, stomach, intestines, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, bladder, lymphatic system, food (including proteins, vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates and fats), ductless glands, nervous system, brain, learning, learning experiments, sleep and dreams, the senses, sight, hearing, balance, smell, taste, touch, pain, skin, skin color, hair, tooth care, keeping clean, body temperature, sickness, colds, fevers, earaches, rashes, toothaches, healing, discoveries in medicine, the future.

Germ cells, gendered hats, heredity, done.

1. THIS KID? One of the cutest ever. 2. What more information could a kid need to grasp how various traits passed through families?

Always loved how the kid was giving the brain cell the stink-eye. The green liver cell on the left reminds me of a giant squid. I don't think I ever had an image of cells that was more complex than this until well into AP Biology.

This sequence just seems like quintessential Kaufman humor to me.

It's the dog-food dog that really puts this one over the top.

I have a very clear memory of being on a plane and seeing a woman with very curly hair and telling my mom, "She has flat hair follicles!!"

Again, I was well into AP Biology before I had any more complex vision of the immune system than this. If fact, when I get a bloody paper cut, I still envision blood cells engaged in hand-to-hand combat.

I've never really gotten over the weirdness of the box bath, all these years later. (Kaufman illustrated the Hygiene section with a gallery of bathing styles through the ages.)

"In 1822, Dr. William Beaumont studied digestion by watching a patient's stomach through an unhealed wound." Like...WHAT?! I can't even deal, people. I can't even deal.

Does anybody want to see Mammals & Birds or Slimy, Creepy, Crawly Creatures? I'd say both are a notch slightly below his other three science books, quality-wise, but they still have a lot to offer. Let me know if there's interest and I'd be happy to scan pages from one or both.

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