School Library Journal
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Gr 5-8-Blood, writes Newquist, "is one of the most fascinating and fabled substances in history." In this compendium, readers will learn about the red fluid's biological function as well as its historical and cultural significance. Several chapters cover its importance in ancient cultures and explain how our knowledge about its role in the body developed over time. Information about early medical practices such as bloodletting (including the use of leeches) will grab students' interest, as will the sections on hematophagous (blood-drinking) animals and vampire legends. The chapters on the physiology of the circulatory system and the components of blood are more readable than those in many textbooks. The conversational tone and the faux blood-spattered pages, replete with sidebars, color photos, archival drawings, and medical illustrations, are sure to pull in readers. Unfortunately, there are no source notes to support blanket statements such as, "Everything you put in your body ends up in your blood," and "Your blood is more responsible for keeping you alive than anything else in your body." This book's content is similar to that in Trudee Romanek's Squirt: The Most Interesting Book You'll Ever Read About Blood (Kids Can, 2006), although it covers some topics in greater depth and has more of a narrative format.-Jackie Partch, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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"Blood looks too simple to be so important: just a bright splash of liquid that seems as if it isn't much different from paint or fruit juice or cherry-colored water." In 11 concise chapters, Newquist (Here There Be Monsters) demystifies one of the most elemental and (literally) vital components of life as we know it. After an overview of the complex makeup of blood, Newquist dives into humankind's history with, beliefs about, and study of blood, including missteps and misconceptions along the way; both ritual and medical bloodletting are discussed, the latter persisting as a method of treatment well into the 1800s ("George Washington was treated with bloodletting-and then died from it"). Newquist goes into detail to explain how blood moves through the human body and the critical role it plays in keeping us alive, also touching on hematophageous (blood-drinking) animals and vampire legends. Photographs and period illustrations appear throughout, and blood-spattered pages play into the subject matter's potential for ickiness, even while Newquist makes it clear that blood is worthy of fascination, not fear. Ages 10-14. Agent: Ken Wright, Writers House. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.