HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: What Happens to a Hamburger?
Author: Paul Showers
Illustrator: Edward Miller
Publisher: HarperCollins, newly illustrated edition published in 2001
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Showers, Paul. What Happens to a Hamburger? (originally published in 1970 and republished in 1985 by HarperCollins Publishers). What happens to food when you eat it? In this Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science level 2 paperback, newly illustrated and complete with photos, author Paul Showers and illustrator Edward Miller take children on a journey through the human digestive system into the mouth, down the esophagus, into the stomach, and finally into the small and large intestines. Students will learn what each of these body parts does to help transform the food they eat and what happens to the food the body cannot use. Everything that happens inside our bodies whenever we swallow a bite of food is amazing. We checked this book about a diner cook who loves to eat healthy food out of the library for our older son Mark to read as a second-grader in connection with his homeschool science-health studies of the digestive system and nutrition.
There are little experiments included. It has been republished since then with attractive new illustrations, enhanced in a few places with photos that show body parts such as the epiglottis and the stomach lining. The digital artwork has a jaunty, retro look. It does, of course, talk about “where poop comes from.” Some parents might wish that the book did more to show what happens to unhealthy food once it enters the body, but it is useful in helping children understand the digestive tract and the whole digestion process of what happens to the food we eat in a simple, easy-to-understand manner that is kid-friendly. Paul Showers, who worked on the Detroit Free Press, the New York Herald Tribune, and the Sunday New York Times, wrote twenty books for the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series, including favorites such as A Drop of Blood, Hear Your Heart, and Where Does the Garbage Go?