Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Museum of Odd Body Leftovers: A Tour of Your Useless Parts, Flaws, and Other Weird Bits by Rachel Poliquin, illustrated by Clayton Hanmer

I love nonfiction, especially the "weird" stuff and Rachel Poliquin has a quirky perspective that makes her one of my favorite authors. I never know what to expect from her books and her latest was fun, informative, and hilarious!

Narrated by a wisdom tooth, this is an excursion into the weird bits of the body left over from millennia of evolution. From the tailbone to the appendix, the odd design of our foot bones, and, of course, the wisdom tooth and hanger-on, the disappearing kidney, this is an adventure not only in humor and the human body, but also back through time. Why don't humans have tails? Are we still monkeys (on the inside)? What happened to our fur? These and more questions are answered, speculated over, and illustrated with humorous pictures of prehistoric apes, lizards, shivering wolves, and friendly (if invisible) kidneys.

The text is arranged in longer sections interrupted by cartoon images, framed excerpts explaining various terms and ideas, like artworks in a museum, and here and the book finishes with a glossary and suggestions for further reading.

I've become somewhat discouraged in purchasing more challenging nonfiction reading over the past few years, due to the many kids who struggle to read and don't have the concentration or vocabulary to handle more complex ideas, but this hits the best of both worlds - funny comics, a lively narrative that's broken up into digestible chunks, but there's still plenty of "meat" to the book and even a reluctant reader may be willing to put in the work to find out whether or not they have a tail!

Verdict: A fascinating and unique look at the human body and evolution, recommended for most libraries.

ISBN: 9781771647458; Published September 2022 by Greystone; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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