The Children’s Book Review | August 8, 2018
Written by Gabrielle Balkan
Illustrated by Sam Brewster
Age Range: 5-10
Publisher: Phaidon (2017)
What to Expect: Animals, Anatomy, Trivia
There are plenty of books that introduce children to animals from the outside: their colors and shapes, the sounds they make, their behaviors, their homes, and so on. Less usual are books which show children animals from the inside: how are they put together, and what makes them tick? Gabrielle Balkan’s Book of Bones does just that: focusing on the skeletal details of ten different animals, this book introduces children to the fascinating complexity of anatomy, showing them how the structural make-up of animals shapes their behaviors and characteristics.
The most engaging feature of this new volume is the “guess who” format, which introduced readers to each animal’s anatomy through a detective-style question and answer set of superlatives. Readers are invited to guess which animals sports the heaviest bone, the spikiest bone, or the fastest growing bone. With the answer revealed gradually through a variety of fun trivia facts (the Alaskan Moose’s antlers can grow wider than a grand piano, the peregrine falcon’s bones weigh less than its feathers), readers learn to spot the relationship between an animals anatomy and it’s more visible characteristics and behaviors. The simple, clear, labelled illustrations of skeletons are detailed, making an interesting contrast to the beautiful illustrations of the animals themselves. The volume is engaging, fun, and different – great as a gift or for the classroom.
About the Author
Gabrielle Balkan is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn, New York. Her books include the acclaimed atlas, The 50 States, a NCSS notable book, and its follow-up, 50 Cities. Gabrielle is a former book buyer, commissioning editor, and director of communications. Her work has been published by Harper Collins, Scholastic, and the Whitney Museum of Art.
About the Illustrator
Sam Brewster is an award-winning freelance illustrator, photographer, and filmmaker based in London. He has a roster of prestigious clients around the world, including The New York Times, Guardian, and Creative Review. This is his first children’s book.
Book of Bones, written by Gabrielle Balkan and illustrated by Sam Brewster, was reviewed by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like Book of Bones by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Anatomy Books, Animals, Fact Books, Gabrielle Balkan, and Non-Fiction.