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Secrets of the Senses

by Donna M. Jackson

      I love books about the wonders of the human brain and this is probably the most fascinating I've ever read. Jackson covers an amazing amount of territory in a short space, but you never feel cramped or sketchy in details. Phenomena looks at conventional topics like animal senses vs. human senses, dreams, phantom pain from lost limbs, and unusual sensory experiences (people whose senses trigger by unusual stimuli, such as seeing color when music is played or when thinking of numbers). But the book also looks at how the normal senses along with human nature can lead to more unusual ideas, such as psychic ability or seeing ghosts or even a blind-from-birth artist who can paint realistic paintings using his other senses to see. One of the most interesting areas covered is how researchers are using technology to help people work around lost senses — such as devices that let you see by hearing, or restore lost balance by stimulating the tongue. The author skillfully senses just how deeply to go into a subject without running the risk of losing young readers. It's a great jumping off book for building interest in learning more about the senses and the brain. Weird, wonderful and well-researched — definitely a winner.

The Book

Little, Brown and Company
September 2008
0316166499 / 978-0316166492
Children's Nonfiction, Ages 9 - 12
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The Reviewer

Jan Fields
Reviewed 2008
NOTE: Reviewer Jan Fields is the editor of Kid Magazine Writers emagazine and has written dozens of stories and articles for the children's magazine market.
© 2008