The Way We Work
by David Macaulay
co-written by Richard Walker

David Macaulay's The Way We Work
co-written with Richard Walker

Ages 9-109!

Getting to Know the Amazing Human Body


  • If you only want to buy one copy of this book, don't tell your child about it until you've finished reading it!
  • Don't buy this book if you don't want your child to become a doctor!
  • Don't buy this book if you're allergic to the phrase, "Did you know...?"

David Macaulay is a genius...literally. He received a MacArthur Genius Grant, and that's what enabled him to spend the years it took to create The Way We Work. Thanks to MacArthur's recognition, a book that should cost hundreds is available to families for a fraction of that.

A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, winner of the Caldecott Medal for his brilliantly conceived book Black and White (reviewed on this site), twenty years after writing The Way Things Work, Macaulay explains the human body in a way we can all understand.

Who the heck has done that before?

I mean if you want the kids to be able to look inside the human body, you could buy them Gray's Anatomy. (The book, not the TV show!) But they're not going to understand it. You're not going to understand it.

That's Macaulay's genius: he took years to learn this stuff from the experts, and then he used his unique talents to explain it to the rest of us.

Macaulay is a tremendously gifted illustrator and a talented writer as well. His brilliant depictions of all parts of the human body are designed to illuminate, rather than to duplicate. If the best way of communicating the composition of blood - 55% plasma, 45% blood cells (of numerous different types) - is to show all the components jumping into a swimming pool, then Macaulay will show them jumping into a swimming pool...complete with diving board and lifeguards.

The goal is to NOT make your head spin. The goal is to make it all make sense, visually, mechanically, functionally.

Chances are your 10 year old isn't ready to perform surgery. That's the genius of this book. Your 10 year old will understand the intricate workings of the human body, instead of trying to make sense of what everything is were he to cut one open!

And don't think for a second that Macaulay is oversimplifying. This is a book grown-ups can read and be challenged by. Will be challenged by. When your doctor's diagnosis is incomprehensible to you, you'll be running to The Way We Work for an explanation!

And please don't make the mistake of waiting to buy this book until your kids are old enough to read it themselves. The time to buy this book is as soon as your kids start speaking! Because you can bet they'll have some questions about their bodies that, if you aren't a medical doctor, you'll feel challenged to explain.

A quick consult with "Dr." Macaulay and you'll be ready to go!

I can't overstate my excitement about The Way We Work. I can promise you I'll be reading it.

Read more of Steve's reviews.

New! Comments

Have your say!

Best Children's Books - Find, Read or Write home page.

Show your reviewer some

Do you know enough Seuss to excel?