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*The Quest to Digest* by Mary K. Corcoran, illustrated by Jef Czekaj
 
 



 

The Quest to Digest
by Mary K. Corcoran, illustrated by Jef Czekaj
Grades 2-5 32 pages Charlesbridge June 2006 Paperback    

The Quest to Digest by Mary K. Cocoran (Charlesbridge Publishing) provides a detailed analysis of the entire digestion system accompanied by Jef Czekaj's full-page cartoon illustrations. Originally from New York, Corcoran is a science teacher for seventh-grade students and currently resides in Connecticut; this is her first book. Czekaj hails from Massachusetts and is known for his comic strips Grandpa and Julie and Hypertruck. He has worked on at least two other books besides this one, including a comic book.

The 32-page book is filled with diagrams and ample text, definitely be useful for grades 2 9 depending on the facilitator. The quality of the stiff paperback cover appears to be quite durable; however The Quest to Digest is also available in hardcover format providing more choices to the reader.

The main character is a young boy of no particular race who is accompanied by a small green cartoon caricature helper. Little captions and cute antics make a dry subject more fun. Highly visual and ample use of color certainly contributes to bringing some lightness to a heavy subject.

While some nutritional information is mentioned, the book focuses on what happens to food once it enters the mouth. The author employs scientific terminology that may be too much for younger children to remember, although younger ones will still be able to comprehend what is going on through the illustrations and general storyline.

The last page provides recommended websites and books where more information on digestion can be found. These resources are all kid-friendly some have activities and printable sheets that will help educate youth in a light-hearted way.

Educators, hospitals, caregivers, medical personnel, parents and more can use this book to explain gastrointestinal processes to children on an individual or group level. This book would have made my own high school biology class much more fun to learn from, rather than the dry textbooks we were given.

The Quest To Digest could certainly benefit from an index and perhaps some notes for facilitators to use that would help generate discussion in classrooms. Another useful tool would be to have question-answer exercises for teachers to use.
 
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  Lillian Brummet/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  






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