'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 10 July 2011

ebook Review: Human Body Detectives: Battle with the Bugs

Education and fun and 'ick' all in one place? Gotta love that. This wonderful series of books by Dr Heather Manley follows the adventures of Merrin and Pearl who magically enter the human body to solve health mysteries.

As the kids forage through the internal workings of the body, they learn how various systems work and - most cleverly - which foods help fuel each system. Healthy eating, here we come! What better way to encourage children to use food as a way to heal and healthify their bodies rather than as an emotional or social tool.

The books are currently available in hard copy, complete with accompanying workbooks packed with activities, puzzles and stickers to help reinforce learning. You can learn more about them on the website - humanbodydetectives.com.

The ebook version of Battle with the Bugs features full colour illustrations and even a Human Body Detectives jingle.

When little baby Max starts crying and pulling at his ears, Merrin and Pearl take cousin Sam into the young ones booger-packed nose. Things soon get pretty hot as the adventurers head towards the 'crime scene'. It's clear little Max has a fever - but why? Who is responsible and how can the adventurers help?

Pages are read aloud by a narrator and kids can read along. Adorable children's narration and occasional mood music lend drama to the story, as do the critters that occasionally run across the page. The storyline is well-written and engaging, and the characters are very likeable.

At the end of the book, Manley had added interactive elements that are done more in a hardcopy sense than an app sense. Kids can search for two critters throughout the book, they can learn more about the immune system and be intrigued by Fun Facts and diagrams. They can also learn how to colourise their meals and pick up some pretty funny jokes - what did the left eye say to the right eye? Between us, something smells!

Kids can even email Merrin and Pearl!

There doesn't seem to be a muting option nor an icon to return to the main menu, though this could be a downloading problem rather than a book fault. A glossary at the end of the book is also helpful.

It's clear the topic of health and nutrition is a personal passion for Heather Manley, a Canadian naturopathic doctor with a passion for educating families on body care and healthy eating. Her books, apps and websites are a joy to meander through and I look forward to seeing more of these clever books and their timely and vital messages.

Human Body Detective: Battle with the Bugs is distributed by PicPocket Books and is available on iTunes for $2.99.