This week’s book is all about the skeleton and bones. Who Owns These Bones? from Laurence King publishing is a gorgeous three-color non-fiction book that will really (ahem) get under your skin. Laurence King clearly loves its three-color print books, Hoakes Island, a very different sort of book had three colors too. This time they have chosen blue, white, and orange and it’s highly effective.
What is Who Owns These Bones?
It’s a book that contains you didn’t know you wanted to know about skeletons, whether they be human, animal, endoskeleton or exoskeleton. It’s a large (25″ x 33″) thin hardback (40 pages), filled with diagrams and text. There are a number of lift the flap pages to provide additional reader interaction. It is aimed at ages around 8 upwards, though younger readers will benefit from sharing the book with an adult, as there are some technical terms used.
The book opens with a general discussion on the function of a skeleton and its evolutionary development. It discusses the differences between cartilage and bone, and internal and external skeletons. It then tours the body, looking at the differences and similarities between different types of animal skeletons. It teaches about the function of the skull, teeth, antlers, and horns, before moving onto arms, legs, feet, and wings.
After explaining the physical components of the skeleton, Who Owns These Bones? moves on to how skeletons work as a whole for activities such as movement, i.e. climbing, running, flying and swimming. It also examines the differences between the skeletons of hunters and prey; horns vs claws. The final pages of the book are devoted to the similarities between apes and humans. It looks at how the skeleton tells the story of the evolution of man and the conditions in which a person lived before dying, introducing the fascinating concept of bone memory.
Why Read Who Owns These Bones?
Who Owns These Bones? is a work of art. A glorious volume where science and design meet to make a perfect whole. It’s one of those books you see in the bookshop and can’t help but pick it up to look at. Odds are, it will be coming out of the shop with you when you leave. Preferably, having paid for it, though I suppose you could switch to digitigrade mode and sprint for it! (This term was used in the book, I’d never heard of it before writing this review!)
Beyond learning the names of bones in biology lessons the skeleton tends to remain something of a mystery to us in our everyday lives. Until we break something, we take our skeleton for granted. Who Owns These Bones? takes the time to explain how well adapted the skeletons of varying species are. How something that is, in essence, the same from animal to animal, can vary so much between species to fulfill the particular niche that species exists within. Whether it be opposable thumbs, light avian bones, or shark’s teeth.
Who Owns these Bones? is a lovely book, perfect for animal lovers or budding naturalists. It presents a little-discussed subject in an attractive and accessible way, that opens up the wonders of the animal kingdom to be investigated by inquisitive minds.
If you enjoyed this post, do check out my other Word Wednesday posts.
Disclosure: I was sent a copy for this book to review.