Children's Book ReviewsThe Internet Writing Journal, January 2000
Page Two of Four
Human Body (Eyewitness Books) by Steve ParkerDK Publishing, Oct., 1999.
Hardcover, 64 pages
Ages 9 - 12
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This entry in the popular Eyewitness Books series vividly illustrates the human body. Beginning with the history of the study of the human body, the text progresses logically from the body's framework: bones, joints and muscles to the circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems. Each system is described in detail, with information about how medicine has evolved over time in various cultures. But what makes this book so valuable are the outstanding, graphic illustrations of each of the body's major systems and organs. With color and black and white photographs and striking 3-D models, this is an incredibly informative and fascinating text. The reading level is listed as 9 - 12, but actually this book is perfect for adults as well. An invaluable family reference.
The Legend of the Christmas Rose by William H. Hooks, Paintings by Richard A. WilliamsHarperCollins, Oct., 1999.
Picture Book, 32 pages
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The plant Helleborus niger, also known as the Christmas Rose, blooms in the winter, and has been used for centuries to cure heart ailments and other disorders. One of the legends surrounding the plant is the one related in this charming book by William Hooks which is illustrated by the popular portrait painter, Richard Williams. The book tells the story of Dorothy, whose name means "Gift from God". Dorothy is the youngest child of a family full of brothers. When the Christ child is born, her brothers all rush off to honor the newborn Savior and to bring him gifts. Little Dorothy follows behind, but outside the city she sits down to cry, for she doesn't even have enough money to buy a pomegranate much less a gift fit for a king. But an angel appears to Dorothy. "Suddenly, she heard a rush of wings beating in the night sky. She gazed upward and saw, in a burst of light, an angel waving a flower of purest white." The ground was then magically covered with the beautiful white flowers. Dorothy gathers up the flowers and lays them at the baby Jesus' feet. Jesus turns away from the gifts of gold and gems, and touches the flowers, turning them pale pink.
Richard Williams paintings are full of shadows and light, and heartfelt emotion. His style mixes realism and wonder, with enchanting results. This picture book is sure to be a family favorite at Christmastime, year after year.
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