School Library Journal
This series covers issues and behaviors that adversely affect a person’s well-being. Though age appropriate, the books have a touch of sensationalism throughout. A photo of a skeleton hand extinguishing a cigarette, one of a teen passed out holding a liquor bottle, and the description of Krystan first trying marijuana at 10 years old and then becoming a heavy drug user at 16 are some of the attention-grabbing devices. Never mind that there is no further mention of Krystan or whether she is even a real person. Also hit or miss are the “Learning & Innovation Skills,” “21st Century Content,” and “Life & Career Skills” margin notes. While these features encourage further research and critical thinking, they at times fall short in follow-through. For example, one recommends visiting the American Heart Association’s Web site but does not cite its address. These overviews will engage reluctant readers, but there are lamentably few further-reading citations.
Bottom Line: With the exception of the “Tell Me What To Eat Series,” all would make fine additions to children’s or young adult collections. The age-appropriate range of topics and readable format in “Head-to-Toe Health” will work especially well for younger readers. “Compact Research” also gets the nod for solid topic coverage that is relevant to readers’ lives. Through the impeccable use of primary sources, it exemplifies not only good information, but also how to present and cite it. Furthermore, although the writing is at a high school reading level, the separate sections of facts and illustrations provide material that can easily work for middle school projects.