Saturday, October 10, 2015

Human Body Theater

Human Body Theater is quite a show. It chronicles a whirlwind tour of the human body conducted by your emcee, a human skeleton. Along the way it gets at all kinds of information, including a brushing up on basic biology,

to a tour of bodily functions,
and a catalog of body parts and systems.
As you can see from the excerpts, the artwork is clear, detailed, and very well rendered. in addition, I really enjoy the humorous elements of the book. I think it would be very easy for this content to be overly precious or cutesy, but I feel the balance between funny, facts, and grossness helps keep the proceedings from being saccharin. Perhaps the worst thing I can say about this book is that it is ultra-dense with information, and it can be a lot to take at once. I certainly found it more digestible (ha!) to read in small chunks. Still, I found the humor winning and the content quite compelling and well researched. If I were a biology or anatomy teacher, this book would be required reading.

Maris Wicks has drawn one of my favorite graphic novels of 2013, Primates. She has also created a number of comics and minicomics, including Yes, Let's. She blogs about her work and also has a tumblr.She talks about the genesis and work on this graphic novel in this interview.

All of the reviews I have read of this book have been very positive. In a starred review for the School Library Journal, Steven Engelfried called it "delightful and enlightening. Publishers Weekly summed up that it was "brilliant adjunct reading for biology students and the terminally curious." Kirkus Reviews called it "a grand show" but also added that "it’s a lot to take in at one sitting."

Human Body Theater was published by First Second, and they have much information and a preview available here.

Thank you, Gina, for the review copy!

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