The Human Body Survival Guide

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George Ivanoff, The Human Body Survival Guide, Penguin Australia, September 2020, 50pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781760896744 

George Ivanoff has followed up The Australia Survival Guide with The Human Body Survival Guide. Using tones of black, red and white, the book is divided into four sections: ‘On the outside’, ‘On the inside’, ‘Better out than in’ and ‘Everything else (not all of it gross)’. Within each section there are up to six different subsections and the introduction warns readers to Proceed only if you have a strong stomach! As the narrator thinks most things about the body are pretty gross, he has included a gross-o-meter to measure the level of grossness of the topics under discussion. 

The text is supposedly written by someone still at school. The language used is chatty and casual, which makes it engaging and entertaining. However, along the way the amount of information imparted to the reader is accurate and detailed. There are lots of speech bubbles and fact boxes and words which need further explanation are circled and defined in a glossary at the end. There are drawings, photographs, and tables along with a simple avatar who looks like he’s made out of Lego. 

There are a few very minor mistakes that should have been picked up at the proofreading stage: ‘leaches’ instead of ‘leeches’ on p. 53, ‘bought’ instead of ‘brought’ on p. 61, the special muscle in your heart that pump your blood on p. 63 and that just sound like something out of a sci-fi or horror film on p. 132. There are some technical terms that maybe should have been in the glossary (e.g. ‘lysozyme’ and ‘phagocytes’ on p. 117) as they are not explained in the text. But the biggest downside is the lack of an index. This is a shame as this is a great book and to be recommended. 

Reviewed by Lynne Babbage 

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