The Book Shelf – August 9
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Aug 09, 2012  |  Vote 0    0

The Book Shelf – August 9

Stratford Gazette

Why Do Feet Smell? By Gilda and Melvin Berger, 48 pages. @ SPL: J 612 Ber

Is it true that every morning you are a tiny bit taller than when you went to sleep? What causes people to blush? Why does our skin wrinkle in water? What is the strongest muscle in the human body; how many times a minute does the average person blink, and is it true that people can’t sneeze with their eyes open? (On the other hand, can we sneeze in our sleep?)

Do all animals have belly buttons – or just humans? Why do our stomachs growl, and why do our feet smell?

These are some of the questions about the human body that kids have probably asked, and the answers to these questions and others, with easy-to-understand explanations, are provided in Gilda and Melvin Berger’s Why Do Feet Smell? The entertaining subject matter, colourful photos and the short, concise format (A question is asked on the right side of each page; the answer and a brief explanation are provided on the following page) will appeal to both boys and girls, reluctant readers included.

“Bonus” facts and a glossary are provided at the end.

By the way, it’s true that we are a tiny bit taller each morning! Also, the average person blinks 15 times each minute; our tongue is our strongest muscle and apparently, men’s feet sweat more than women’s feet! Who says that adults can’t learn some useful, albeit trivial, facts from books written for children?

** Recommended for ages six to 10.

Fifty Underwear Questions: A Bare-All History By Tanya Lloyd Kyi, 116 pages. @ SPL: 391.42 Kyi

From feet to underwear! In 50 Underwear Questions, Tanya Lloyd Kyi delves into the intriguing world of underwear history, revealing the “bare essentials” and providing readers with the inside scoop. Startling and uplifting developments in underwear evolution are covered, such as the invention of the bra, the demise of corsets and the long-awaited birth of jockey shorts. (Did you know that men once wore one-piece underwear garments referred to as “union suits”?

Undershirts and jockey shorts didn’t become separate garments until World War I.) Interestingly, the world of women’s underclothing was also transformed during World War I when the US War Industries Board asked women to stop wearing corsets because these garments used valuable steel needed for weapons. The Board speculated that 31,000 tons of steel could be saved in this way – enough to build two entire battleships! (For some reason, women never returned to wearing corsets.)

Kids who have always wondered what was worn under the armour of medieval knights and the spacesuits of astronauts will discover the answers in this book. More breathtaking facts are revealed: girdles were once constructed of thick rubber; in the 1850s a woman wore up to six starched petticoats under her dress, and fashionable men in Regency England actually wore corsets! Did you know that the Inuit of northern Canada once wore an inner garment made of caribou skin called an “attigi,” with the furry side worn closest to the skin?

Underwear terminology (such as “bloomers,” “knickerbockers,” “grundies,” and “tighty-whities”) is also explained in this hilarious, informative, illustrated and indexed book, which is sure to answer many questions for young and old.

** Recommended for ages eight to 12.

– Sally Hengeveld, librarian

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