Digestion: The Musical by Adam Rex, illustrated by Laura Park

Published by Chronicle Books

Summary:  Digestion: The Musical unfolds in three acts, featuring Your Body, L’il Candy, Gum, and the Baby Carrot Singers.  Starting from the moment the brain gets the signal to open the mouth and let in L’il Candy, the story continues down the esophagus and into the stomach, where Candy meets up with Gum (has he really been stuck there for years? “Nah, that’s a myth.”).  She’s consistently dismissed as junk food by the heart, lungs, gallbladder, and even the seemingly useless appendix.  But Candy persists and is eventually shown to have a nutritional core that can be used by the body.  The final number [two], “Let’s Get This Potty Started”, will leave audiences with a smile on their faces.  Includes a glossary and a literal appendix, which it turns out, is actually useful for storing good bacteria. 76 pages; grades 2-6.

Pros:  I laughed, I cried, I gasped aloud at this fascinating and hilarious mix of fiction and nonfiction that’s presented in both horizontal and vertical spreads.  You’ll probably want to supplement this with other material, but the basic facts are here and likely to stick in kids’ heads due to the high entertainment factor of the presentation.

Cons:  It’s tough to let yourself get too attached to a protagonist that you know is about to be pulverized by the digestive system.

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