Customer Reviews: The Kingfisher First Human Body Encyclopedia (Kingfisher First Reference)
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on April 14, 2006
I actually first looked at this book just because it only had a one star rating and I wondered why. When I learned that, it was because it had children's level sex ed I bought it immediately. My 5 year old was trying to figure out what a birthday was for and I needed a little visual assist to help him understand that he came from my belly on that day. Really, the sex ed of this book is perfect for small children. It shows a big blow up of an egg surrounded by sperm. It has two basic anatomy drawings of what is in a woman and what is in a man with no deep detail; they are small and dull in comparison to the Sperm and Egg multicolor blow up of a microscope picture. It shows on the next two pages a baby developing in the womb. It's just drawings and it has an ultra sound of the profile of a baby's head. Nothing about how the baby gets in there, nothing about how it comes out, just very basic things a small child can understand (I highly recommend it for the 5 year old set). It is very colorful and shows much of the anatomy in relation to children's bodies.

The whole book is wonderful. It is drawings and pictures of all the major systems of the body. They are detailed enough that you can see all the stuff that is under our skin, but it is written simply. On the muscles of the face, rather than name them they say, "These muscles make you blink, these muscles make you smile." Very kid friendly and related to questions kids will ask. This is good for a beginner reader who is old enough to be curious about how the body works. It also has little boxes at the bottom of many pages with experiments that kids can do to give hands on visuals about the lessons presented. My son has been fascinated by it since it arrived and looks through it at least once a day. He spends time marveling at the pictures and how cool people are on the inside. There is nothing gruesome in it though it does broach things like available artificial body parts. I guess it could be useful in explaining Grandma or Grandpa's operation. What I like the most is, it has real anatomical pictures with captions that are kid friendly and easy to understand. I highly recommend this for small children so long as you are comfortable with them knowing about all of their body parts and not just some of them.
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on January 22, 2009
Like all the other Kingfisher "First" books, this one is lovely and well suited to elementary-age minds and reading levels. Lots of pictures and nice, large print; lots of cool experiments. As for the controversial section on reproduction, this is exactly how it reads: "To make a baby, a man puts his penis inside a woman's vagina to release sperm. The sperm swim toward the egg and fertilize it. The fertilized egg grows into a baby inside the uterus." Frankly, if I could re-write or delete one sentence from this book, I would find nothing else objectionable--but I'm just not sure my six-year-old is ready to wrap his head around this information.
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We all REALLY like this book, a library acquisition that I will probably end up buying to add to our permanent "home library."

There are enough visuals - photos, diagrams, illustrations etc. - that my not-quite-reading 5-year-old can enjoy this encyclopedia on her own, but enough text that we can all cozy up on the sofa and learn with it, too. This is a book that will really grow with my kids - offering knowledge on any level from this age on up.

In case you're concerned because of another reviewer's reference to the book's treatment of human sexuality, there is literally one reference to a man's penis "entering" a woman's vagina. There are also detailed diagrams of both organs on that page.

The very youngest kids probably won't be able to read this for themselves, so you can omit the specifics if you prefer; there is no other reference in the book, though on the next page, a developing embryo is shown, along with a pregnant woman.

Frankly, I wouldn't trust a book on anatomy that LEFT OUT this information, and I believe that any child who has been prepared from an early age with a basic understanding of where babies come from will not be shocked by (or even at first, perhaps, very interested in) the specifics.

As a religious person, I'd see it as my obligation to not only make this information available to my kids, but also use moments like this as an opportunity to talk about the sanctity of their bodies and the marriage in which I hope they will create their own babies someday.

The rest of the book seems unlikely to stir controversy - and quite likely to hold kids' interest, especially with its many opportunities for kids to explore their own bodies - listening to their heartbeat, finding the blind spot on their retinas, etc.

Each page offers a "find out more" box in the lower-right corner with "links" to pages offering related information. A page on sickness offers a quick link to a page on infection, for example. I like the way this book mixes serious scientific knowledge with a sense of fun and fascination.

I have been more impressed by the actually written content of this book than I have with similar offerings from Dorling-Kindersley and other educational publishers. I find the DK books are very busy, and suspect they pander to TV-oriented kids with short attention spans.

The text of this book is well-written and complements the illustrations nicely, which means it will make a fine addition to our homeschool living things science next year as part of our classical / Charlotte Mason approach.
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on June 3, 2011
This is a well written book for children. I found myself saying "I did not know that." This book was a recommendation from "The Well-Trained Mind" book by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer. I am so happy I purchased this.
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on December 15, 2011
I am using this for our health book this year for my 9 year old and 6 year old. Very good and works well for their ages. I did however take note of the other reviews and black sharpie markered out the section on Sex. Sometimes my 9 year old will take books and read them without my being around. So I did not want this read when I was not there. No big deal.
I love the pictures. My kids get grossed out but love it. Especially the picture of a bug that lives on your skin! They often make me turn back to that page and squeal.
But it is very great and I recommend it!
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on August 13, 2006
This book is easy for my 6 yr old to understand. We are using it for our science book and she is loving it!!
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on December 12, 2007
I am a homeschooler. I love Kingfisher products. This book is easy for my 1st and 3rd grader to do on their own as supplementary reading.
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on June 20, 2011
A little too general for my tastes. If you're just starting out, and have young young kids with short short attention spans, this book may be good for you. For my family, and my little scientists, it just didn't do it. Each section is basically a teeny blurb about the subject. Didn't really catch the kids' attention. They've moved on to other books that do a better job of informing them about their bodies. Oh well.
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on May 2, 2013
I am planning to use this book as part of our 1st grade science. There is a good amount of information for a young girl who has a lot of anatomy questions.
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on April 14, 2015
Great first encyclopedia. I loved the 'quiz' at the end and the vocab. Perfect for elementary kids just starting out with science.
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