cover image Your Insides

Your Insides

Joanna Cole. Grosset & Dunlap, $14.95 (44pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22123-1

The author of the Magic School Bus series steps off Ms. Frizzle's zany vehicle, slows her pace and steers her imaginative teaching techniques toward gentler paths. Here, as in her acclaimed series, illustrations and text vibrate as though from a single energy source. A section headed ``Nerves Send Messages'' shows six children connected by a tangle of wires as they talk on various offbeat telephones. This external, recognizable picture associates strongly with the depiction of the bundle of nerves inside two of the children. While the Magic School Bus series depends on a ``you are there'' immediacy slathered with wry and sarcastic humor, Cole here employs everyday metaphors such as peeling carrots, blowing up balloons and swinging doors to provide instruction on the stomach, lungs and joints. With a playful approach, Meisel's jaunty light-toned illustrations demonstrate a sensitivity to child life that enhances Cole's lively approach to these body basics. However, those who know Cole's work may miss the wacky characters and the injections of humor that provoke outright laughter. Ages 4-6. (Nov.)