The Secret Family: Twenty-Four Hours Inside the Mysterious World of Our Minds and Bodies-David Bodanis

  • Title: The Secret Family: Twenty-Four Hours Inside the Mysterious World of Our Minds and Bodies
  • Author: David Bodanis
  • Released: 1997-08-08
  • Language:
  • Pages: 224
  • ISBN: 0684810190
  • ISBN13: 978-0684810195
  • ASIN: 0684810190


David Bodanis, author of The Secret House and The Secret Garden, applies his wit and curiosity to another invisible realm: the insides of our bodies. Bodanis wraps his thought-provoking investigation of the natural world in the story of a family's typical day. We follow the baby's explorations of the house, go out with the family to the mall, and experience the daughter's first kiss. Of course, your mind still might be reeling from breakfast and the orange juice--"a liquid which contains embalming fluid, varnish solvent, vinegar, and nail polish remover ... and a certain amount of real orange juice, too."

All that microscopic reality--the benign bacteria feasting on our faces, the widening of the pupils as Baby's gaze meets Mom's or Dad's ("the tiny muscles controlling the pupils in the dad's eyes suddenly tug wider. Males who don't have children rarely show this universal sign of interest.")--triggers a host of facts, both fascinating and appalling; that aforementioned parental gaze segues into an explanation of the ingredients of baby food ("boiled and skimmed pigs' feet extract is often used, though in a pinch the scooped inner pith of discarded fruit can be added, too. Chalk is often added next"). And that's the least of it...

Bodanis's scrutiny is fortified with more than two dozen color photographs from the Science Photo Library that show the world we live in but, thankfully, never see. It's amusing, disturbing, and cheerful in the face of "Ugh!" and "Ah!"--the perfect book to trigger lively conversations. One thing's for certain: you'll never again complain that your ordinary day is just too ordinary.

From Library Journal Bodanis, of The Secret House (1986) and The Secret Garden (LJ 11/1/92) fame, here looks microscopically at a family of four in their microorganism-ridden, poison-spewing, neurotransmitter-driven splendor: Bodanis has never met a dust mite he couldn't describe arrestingly, nor a processed food product he couldn't make forever unappetizing. The set-up here is often the travel patterns of bacteria and the chemical interactions of human and environment, right down to the intimate and romantic sharing of E. gingivalis during a teenage girl's first kiss. Great yucky fun for everyone, especially those interested in the science of the unseen world. Bodanis is a marvelous science writer for lay and professional readers alike. A wonderful acquisition for general collections and essential for school collections?this is the sort of book that turns grade schoolers into science lovers.?Mark L. Shelton, Univ. of Massachusetts Medical Ctr., Worcester
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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