By: Rebecca L. Johnson
Publisher: Lerner Publications
Publication Date: August 2012
Reviewed by: Deb Fowlwer
Review Date: November 2012
Every time you move "take a step, blink your eyes, or smile," you are using your muscles. Some muscles like your biceps are easy to see and feel, but others like the muscles in your heart are not. There are hundreds of muscles in your body and all of them "make up your muscular system." Some of these muscles you can control, while others work automatically. For example if you want to pick an apple you use the muscles in your eyes to look at it, use the muscles in your arm to reach up to it, and then use the ones in your hands to curl around it and harvest it. We use our muscles to do everything we do on a daily basis.
Examples of muscles that you can’t control include the ones in your stomach, your heart, and "the muscles that make goose bumps on your skin." You don’t have to think about making your heart beat. In fact it contracts or beats "about one hundred thousand times a day." There are three different kinds of muscles in your body including skeletal muscles, tendons, and heart muscle. You’ll learn how they look, what they help you do, where they are located in your body, and how they work with other muscles. For example, the biceps and triceps work together to help your lower arm move up and down.
Skeletal muscles are attached to your skeletal system, but "some are attached to other muscles." When you make that funny face many of the muscles you use "are attached to your skin." Skeletal muscles range in shape and size. There are big, powerful ones in your legs and much smaller ones in your hands and eyes. Just in your hands alone there "are about twenty small muscles." You’ll also read about what happens when your muscles get tired, smooth muscles, how these muscles contract automatically, you’ll learn where smooth muscles are in our bodies, what muscle fibers look like under a microscope, what our heart muscle does, and what we need to do to keep our muscles healthy.
This book is an excellent way for young students to learn about our muscular system. As a beginning nonfiction chapter book, newly independent and independent readers will be able to learn about the musculoskeletal system. The layout of the book is inviting with full-color photographs, diagrams, and microphotographs of muscle cells. Captions add additional informative factual material. For example, next to a microphotograph of heart muscle we read that "Your heart pumps about 3,000 gallons (11,356 liters) of blood through blood vessels each day." In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, a basic diagram of the muscular system, and additional recommended book and website resources. There are free downloadable educational resources on the publisher’s website.
Quill says: If you have students who would like to know how their body works, this is one in a series of six that you may want to add to your list!