Friday, November 26, 2021

Seeing Creatures from the Inside Out


Inside In: X-Rays of Nature's Hidden World 
by Jan Paul Schutten (translated by Laura Watkinson); illus. by Arie van 't Riet
136 pages; ages 7-12
Greystone Kids, 2021

X-rays are pretty cool. They allow doctors to see breaks and cracks in bones and teeth, and investigators to determine the authenticity of old paintings. And in the case of this book, they allowed Arie, who worked in a hospital, to use his talent to peek inside insects, frogs, and other animals. Sometimes the animals were found dead at the side of a road. Sometimes they were pets that, after they died, were gifted to him for his study. All of the X-rays used in this book are real, though Arie may have taken some time to arrange the animals before taking the photos.

In case you’ve forgotten how X-rays work, author Jan Paul Schutten provides a succinct reminder. An X-ray is electromagnetic radiation – like the light all around you, but at a higher energy. So X-rays can pass through your skin and soft tissue. But tough material (bones, teeth) block them – and that’s why those hard parts show up in an X-ray photo.

When making an X-ray photo, Arie could choose the amount of energy to give the radiation. And he knew just the right combinations of high and low energies to capture both thin flower petals and the harder bones in the same shot.

What I like about this book:
The photos are amazing. I had never thought about what a bumblebee might look like beneath all that hair. Turns out, they have thready-thin waists, just like wasps! When you look at an X-ray of a butterfly, all those colorful scales are gone from the wing. All that’s left are the veins. And seriously! Arie even took X-ray photos of a caterpillar!

There are photos of frogs, snakes and sliders (turtles), fish, fowl, and a handful of mammals. And at the back there is an explanation of how X-rays were discovered, plus an index if you want to find a photo of a particular creature.
Thanks for dropping by today. On Monday we'll be hanging out at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday with other  bloggers. It's over at Greg Pattridge's blog, Always in the Middle, so hop over to see what other people are reading. Review copy provided by the publisher.


  1. Sue, this sounds like a really cool & educational book. Got it on hold.

  2. Wow. What an interesting book this must be. Thanks for telling me about it. I will have to check it out.

  3. This sounds like a great book for kids who are curious about science. Glad you shared it with us. I'm going to check it out too.

  4. What a cool book for kids who like animals! I've never seen an x-ray of a frog. Never thought about it. Kids who like science will love this offering.

  5. What a fantastic idea to present information o animals via x-rays. I will be tacking down a copy thanks to your review.

  6. Wow—I'd never thought about what animals looked like in X-rays, but judging by the cover (as one is not supposed to do but so often does), it must make for some beautiful images! Thanks so much for the great review, Sue!