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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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The Way We Work: Getting to Know the Amazing Human Body Hardcover – October 3, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In this comprehensive and entertaining resource, David Macaulay reveals the inner workings of the human body as only he could. In order to present this complicated subject in an accurate and entertaining way, he put in years of research. He sat in on anatomy classes, dissections, and even reached inside the rib cages of two cadavers to compare their spleen sizes. He observed numerous surgeries, including a ten-hour procedure where a diseased pancreas was removed, as well as one where a worn-out old knee was replaced by a brand new one. This hands-on investigation gives Macaulay a unique perspective to lead his readers on a visual journey through the workings of the human body.

The seven sections within the book take us from the cells that form our foundation to the individual systems they build. Each beautifully illustrated spread details different aspects of our complex structure, explaining the function of each and offering up-close glimpses, unique cross-sections and perspectives, and even a little humor along the way. This one-of-a-kind book can serve as a reference for children, families, teachers, and anyone who has questions about how his or her body works. When readers see how David Macaulay builds a body and explains the way it works, they will come away with a new appreciation of the amazing world inside them.

Amazon Exclusive: Macaulay's Sketches for The Way We Work
(CLICK on Images to Enlarge)

Explore author-artist David Macaulay's creative imagination at work in this collection of intriguing early sketches for the book. Each drawing--which is rendered in colored pencils-- lays out the story of a different system of the body through surprising shifts of scale, color, texture, the insertion of figures, and other intriguing spatial relationships on the page.



From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 6 Up—An ambitious undertaking even for Macaulay, this volume tackles the human body in the author's usual style. Divided into seven sections that connect related systems, the book covers cellular structure at the atomic scale, DNA, and metabolism; respiration and circulation; digestion and elimination; the nervous and endocrine systems; the immune system and fighting infections; the skeleton, musculature, and movement; and reproduction. Macaulay combines a detailed description with frequently whimsical, yet very informative, color diagrams to illustrate the body's functions. At times challenging due to the nature of the topic (e.g., cellular chemistry, nerve impulses), the text incorporates the same subtle humor found in the artwork to enhance the book's appeal without sacrificing its utility. As Macaulay shies away from no topic in his frank, scientific discussions, the result is a very complete description of the "mechanical" aspect of human anatomy that is at once enlightening, entertaining, and a visual delight.—Jeffrey A. French, formerly at Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library, Willowick, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (October 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618233784
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618233786
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 1.1 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Geekdomo VINE VOICE on October 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I am a nurse and also a student currently working on my masters. During the course of my degree I have of course had to learn anatomy (body structures) and physiology (body functions). The one thing that I have always had issue with was the way even my very expensive books for school seemed to lack in any really good illustrations. I am a visual learner and I really appreciate the clarity of a good illustration.

What David Macaulay has done here with this book "The way WE work" is to look at the body from the viewpoint of an engineer and illustrator. Mr Macaulay is the mastermind of the very popular The way things work. He has brought those skills to the human body. I appreciate the very clear and thoughtful way he portrays different body components and how they all work together and eventually quit working.

I recommend this book to anyone who is a visual learner or needs to really have a unique perspective for a project. This book is great for any grade school student to any college student. It will probably not replace your need to get the expensive A&P books, however. It will augment your current library though and that in itself is wonderful.

Highly recommended!
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Format: Hardcover
I flipped through this book today with intentions of buying it for my 7 year old son. He is a huge fan of David Macaulay, and has thoroughly enjoyed The Way Things Work. I did not, however, purchase the book because of the last chapter on reproduction. This will be a great tool for kids who are ready for that particular lesson in life, however my 7 year old is not quite ready. The cross-section sketch of a penis inserted in the vagina as well as the page on the sperm's journey entitled "Winner Takes All!" is just a bit too much information for the younger child. We will be waiting a couple of years before purchasing this beautiful and informative book.
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Format: Hardcover
As a fan of David Macaulay's The Way Things Work book and videos, I was expecting better from this book.

The content is presented in good depth. Compared to many other kid-friendly books on human body, this book's approach of understanding the funtions of the systems and organ starting from celluar level (and molecular level) is very helpful to any kid who is curious to understand the "why"s of human physiology. Unfortunately, the explanations are often short-changed.

Macaulay's previous book had much better illustrations that assisted explanation. This book's illustrations often touch only tangential topics, missing the crux of the topic that most needed an illustration to aid the explanation. I am sorry to say that illustrations seem to be chosen for the ease of the illustrator, and where complexity really needed an illustation for better explanation, the book instead relies on verbose exaplanations, that are often insufficient. The language is often not kid-friendly - the expected target audience.

I find the book useful to arouse interest in human anatomy and physiology, and to frame the content to cater to the inquisiveness of a "why" kid who otherwise finds human anatomy and physiology less than intriguing. It needs to be used in combination with other books/websites/videos that contain better explanations of the matter.

The book comes across as a good first attempt, but a rushed job. I wish Macaulay would revise this book soon, or even better, supplement with multimedia illustrations or videos.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Author David Macaulay's previous book, "The Way Things Work" is fantastic. It's illustrations are very well done, precise, attractive and information is easily absorbed.

"The Way We Work" however is not of the same caliber of Macaulay's previous work. It is somewhat sloppy in appearance; the illustrations are not clear and the text is not placed well. My 10 year old grandson lost his initial enthusiasm very quickly as did I.
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Format: Hardcover
The anticipation for this book made me want to buy it right away, and I pre-ordered it on amazon. It arrived and I was super enthused about the cover, and the size of this book. However, once you open it the images fade a bit in impressiveness. The writing, research, metaphors used by Macaulay are very original and the organization of the book from microscopic to traveling around the body effective. However, the information fades with the dubious pencil colorings of the book. Compared to the contrast that the cover offers, the inside illustrations have soft, sometimes difficult to discern images. I was really buying the book for the illustrations, and I have to say that in the end they didn't completely impress me.
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I have a son who is always asking questions about how things work and currently says he wants to be a doctor when he grows up. Therefore, I bought this book thinking it would be a perfect Christmas present. Thank goodness I read through it first! The reproductive section is WAY too graphic to be appropriate for a child. I do not agree with the age rating on this book to start at 10 years old, unless you are prepared to have your child know EXACTLY how sex works. HOWEVER, this is a great book for teens and adults, and really breaks things down into simple, well-illustrated descriptions on all aspects of the human body.
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