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13 December 2020 ANATOMICUM (Welcome to the Museum series) by Jennifer Z. Paxton and Katy Wiedemann, ill., Candlewick/Big Picture Press, September 2019, 112p., ISBN: 978-1-5362-1506-9


“What rushes into my heart and my skull

I can’t control

Think about it

Feel it in my bones”

-- Tiësto (featuring Tegan and Sara) (2009)


ANATOMICUM is a comprehensive yet easily-understood introduction to human anatomy. It’s also a masterpiece! The author is a university lecturer in anatomy. The illustrator is a heralded tattoo artist. This combining of talents has produced a jaw-droppingly beautiful introduction to our blood, bones, and guts.


Author Jennifer Z. Paxton, who teaches science and medical students, has a knack for explaining bodily processes in terms that middle graders will readily grasp:


Key to plate

1: Pivot joint

In pivot joints, one bone rotates around another. A good example is the joint between the atlas and the axis in the vertebral column. It is used to turn the head side to side.

2: Ball-and-socket joint

This joint gets its name from the ‘ball’ of one bone, usually a long bone, fitting into a corresponding ‘socket’ on the adjoining bone. It allows movements in lots of different directions (bending, rotation, etc.) Some examples are the shoulder and hip joints.

3: Hinge joint

Hinge joints allow movement in one direction only and act just like the hinges on doors to allow bending but not rotation. Major hinge joints of the body are at the elbows, knees, and ankle joints.

4. Condyloid joint

These are found where one bone is rounded and fits into a shallow depression on its neighboring bone. Condyloid joints, also known as ellipsoidal joints, allow movements in many directions, such as the movements of the wrist.

5.Saddle joint

Resembling a saddle on top of another bone, these joints allow side-to-side and bending movement, but no rotation. They include the joint between the carpals and metacarpals of the thumb.

6. Planar joint

Also called gliding joints, these occur where bones lie flat against each other. They allow bones to slide from side to side or up and down. Planar joints are found between the bones to the wrist and ankle regions.”


ANATOMICUM is well-organized. Everything makes sense. The book is divided into six galleries plus a library. The galleries consist of:


The Musculoskeletal System

The Cardiovascular & Respiratory Systems

The Digestive & Urinary Systems

The Nervous System & Special Senses

The Immune & Lymphatic Systems

The Endocrine & Reproductive Systems


Within each gallery are page after page of illustrated body parts. Rendered in ink and watercolor, all of the parts of the parts are numbered and identified in the accompanying “keys” to the plates. Each gallery also contains an index and a fact-filled, multi-paragraph introduction to that part of our body. The oversized book is printed on heavy art paper, and made to endure a lot of use. 


ANATOMICUM is a unique, stunning, coffee table reference book for young people about the structure and functioning of our bodies. Parents will be wise to check it out, too. I just learned (or re-learned) so many details of what makes me tick. 


“The back of the eye, known as the retina, is lined with millions of light-detecting sensory cells. These translate light messages into electrical signals for the brain to receive. About seven million of these cells are a type called cones, which detect colors but are unable to function well in low light. The other 100 million cells are called rods. These are much more sensitive to light, so they work well in low light, though they do not detect color. This is why scenes appear to be black-and-white at nighttime. Once the rods and cones have received information, it is transmitted to the brain via the optic nerve at the back of each eye. Incredibly, this whole process happens in a fraction of a second, and it is thought that the human eye can process nearly one thousand frames, or images, per second.”


However you look at it, this is a unique and informative piece of nonfiction artistry you don’t want to miss. And it will make a fabulous gift. 


Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com





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