Reviewed by Wendy Lipke
This brightly coloured hard covered 26cm square children’s book, is produced by writer of science books for children, Idan Ben-Barak and Christopher Nielsen, Australian children author and illustrator. In 2018 Nielsen’s first picture book saw him shortlisted for the CBCA Crichton Award for best new illustrator, and in 2022 his book Just One Bee received the CBCA Honour Award for Picture Book of the Year. Books by Idan Ben-Barak have been translated into over twenty languages and won several awards.
The back cover states that this book was made by brains, about brains, for brains.
This is not an easy topic to present to children, but the authors have used colour and humour to engage young minds. The information has been presented by the brain talking directly to the listeners.
On the first page children are engaged by being asked to find the pineapple at the end of the story. References to pineapples, usually as a comparison to our brain, are continued throughout the book to maintain focus and interest.
Key aspects of our brain such as where found, structure, and what it can do even without any input from us are presented with simplified diagrams and highlighted key words in different colours.
The last double page spread in this thirty-eight page book provides more academic information of how our brain works, naming the individual parts and showing how the human brain is different from that of a cat and a goose. This would make the book more relevant to older children as well as providing information for adults who may be peppered with questions by bright enquiring minds.
Your Brain is a Lump of Goo
by Idan Ben-Barak
Illustrator: Christopher Nielsen
Allen & Unwin