A Really Short Journey Through The Body by Bill Bryson

Our Rating
Author: Bill Bryson


Book Format: Hardback

Publisher: Puffin

ISBN: 9780241606223

RRP: $44.99

Bill Bryson is such a terrific writer. He just has the knack of being able to clearly put down in words what he wants you to know. He takes you on a journey with not a single word wasted on the way.

This new book for young enquiring minds is adapted from Bryson’s book for adults, The Body: A guide for occupants.

Inside this book he helps us to understand what happens in our bodies from our skins to our tummies to our organs, blood, even our DNA. Peppered with facts we explore what happens when we sleep but also learn that some birds and sea-dwelling mammals can switch off half their brain at a time, so that one half stays alert while the other is dreaming. I learnt that it takes 100 muscles to stand up and 12 muscles to move your eyes over this review you’re reading right now.

Bryson covers everything from taste, fighting infections, pain, the Belly Button Diversity Project, hair, bones, diseases, death, what happens if a head is chopped off and, of course, very importantly, poos and farts.

A Really Short Journey Through the Body is fun and funny at the same time (the best way to learn!), fascinating and colourful. I imagine a lot of young readers will have their heads stuck in this over the holidays. Me included.

Reviewed by Rowena Morcom
Age Guide 8+


Photograph by Catherine Williams


Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951. His bestselling books include The Road to Little Dribbling, Notes from a Small Island, A Walk in the Woods, One Summer and The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. In a national poll, Notes from a Small Island was voted the book that best represents Britain.

His acclaimed work of popular science, A Short History of Nearly Everything, won the Aventis Prize and the Descartes Prize, and was the biggest selling non-fiction book of its decade in the UK. His new book The Body: A Guide for Occupants is an extraordinary exploration of the human body which will have you marvelling at the form you occupy.

Bill Bryson was Chancellor of Durham University 2005–2011. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society. He lives in England.

Adapted by Emma Young

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