Seymour Simon studies 'The Heart'

Heart facts and circulatory trivia fill Seymour Simon's latest science book for children, titled "The Heart: Our Circulatory System". The 27-page book takes readers on an adventure into the depths of the human heart. With this book Simon, the author of over 100 science books for children, launches a series that will explore the mysteries of the human body.

Published by Morrow Junior, the book contains detailed photographs of the heart and the circulatory system. Simon also tells about what makes up blood, and about how white cells eat bacteria, viruses, and other microscopic invaders.

Humorous look inside animals

If you want to know how a car works you "take it apart and study its insides," says the introduction to "A Beginner's Guide to Animal Autopsy". So why not do the same with animals?

This funny but educational book about zoology includes a section titled "Basic Parts of Animals," author Steve Parker shows that -- from the largest animal to the smallest -- certain organs exist in all animals. The other five chapters are titled "Slithery-Slimies", "Beastly Bugs", "Fins and Scales", "Feathered Friends", and "Mammals". Within each chapter, several animals are examined.

The author and illustrator Rob Shone provide other anecdotal information about the animal world. "How the Turtle Hides" shows a curious child about how all of a turtle fits inside the shell, while "Claw Withdraw" shows out how cats can retract and show their claws. Squid!

Searching for the giant squid

What can grow to be 60 feet in length, has eight arms, two tentacles, a pointed tail, a huge beak, and two lidless eyes?

The answer is the giant squid, or as ancient sailors named it, kraken.

Richard Ellis, an American marine artist, writer and authority on ocean life, provides an in-depth study of this most elusive of sea creatures in his book, "The Search For The Giant Squid: An authoritative look at the biology and mythology of the world's most elusive sea creature."

Ellis sifts through myth, literature and science to define where the giant squid came from and why -- even today-- it is somewhat of a mystery. He reveals stories of a sea creature that has battled the great sperm whale and frightened seamen throughout history. Ellis' book relates stories tall tales and findings made by 19th and 20th century scientists who studied the rarely-seen creature. The book comes full circle with a look at how writers and movie makers have made the giant squid a tool of entertainment.

The book, published by Lyons Press, is 320 pages with 45 line drawings and 40 black-and-white photographs.


'The Shaker Legacy'

Shaker furniture is more than a line of rockers, benches and bureaus.

Christian Becksvoort, author of "The Shaker Legacy: Perspectives on an Enduring Furniture Style", says that the Shaker furniture legacy is "a mere sliver of their existence." Shakers didn't live to create a line of furniture, but to offer all aspects of their lives -- including their labor -- to God. Life as a Shaker is a spiritual experience that as a by-product produces furniture wanted all over the world.

As sister R. Mildred Barker, a member of the Shaker religion, said, "I would like to be remembered as one who had pledged myself to the service of God and had fulfilled that pledge as perfectly as I can -- not as a piece of furniture."

Taunton Press will publish Becksvoort's 240-page, hardcover book for those who want to know about the religion behind the furniture and about the furniture behind the religion. The first three chapters titled The Shake Contribution, The Shaker Culture, and The Shaker Style, focus on Shaker society and religion. The last eight chapters focus on specific Shaker pieces of furniture such as Cases, Tables and Stands, and Chairs, Benches, and Stools.

"The Shaker Legacy" is a photographic essay that displays 140 classic Shaker pieces. The book will be in stores in October.

Christian Becksvoort is a cabinetmaker in New Gloucester, Maine, and a contributing editor to Fine Woodworking magazine.

St. John

Doctor's book offers a look at St. John's Wort

Though popular in Europe for years, Americans are just recently learning some of the value attributed to St. John's Wort, a herb that is a natural mood booster.

A new book by Michael Thase M.D., a professor of psychiatry, aims to provide more information about what is touted as nature's alternative to Prozac. The book, "St. John's Wort: Nature's Mood Booster" claims to offer "everything you need to know about this natural antidepressant."

The value of the herb, which grows wild in Europe, has been affirmed by more than two dozen European studies. A study published two years ago in the British Medical Journal suggested that St. John's Wort is just as helpful as pharmaceutical anti-depressants, with none of the side effects, such as headaches or vomiting.

While St. John's Wort may not be well known in the United States, doctors in Germany prescribe it for depression, and insurance pays for it.

The new book, published by Avon, offers details about the herb in a mass market question and answer format, addressing the use of the herb, its effectiveness, and safety issues.

Thase is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The book is co-authored by Elizabeth Loredo. Jaws

The mega-waves of Maui

"Jaws Maui" is a giant book filled with the giant waves that crash on the shores of the island of Maui. The brightly colored book is a collection of spectacular photographs depicting a new era in big-wave riding and the environment in which it evolved.

Robby Naish, the first world windsurfing champion, said "Jaws Maui" is "an incredible look at the people, the wave and the action that has redefined big wave boardriding."

"This is the best book I have ever seen," said Bjorn Dunkerbeck, overall world champion in wave sailing, course racing, and slalom for the past 10 years. "There are more big wave pictures and power scenes than in all the magazines combined. Looking at it brings back many good memories and reminds me why I go out there." The photographs are by Patrick "Blue Max" McFeeley, and the text is written by Charlie and Leslie Lyon.

Some of the photos from "Jaws Maui" are to be featured in an upcoming "National Geographic."

Peter Cannon publishes the 227-page hardcover book, which contains color gloss-finished art paper.


Moral tales for good manners

The man who taught Cookie Monster to wipe his mouth, Oscar the Grouch to be considerate, and Big Bird to keep an eye out for the little guy has written a book to help children learn good manners.

Bob McGrath is the author of "Oops! Excuse Me Please!" McGrath delightfully portrays good and bad manners with amusing stories that offer gentle moral tales. Each page brings a lighthearted scene with watercolors by Tammie Lyons that shows what happens when you don't mind your manners.

The 28 humorous scenes depict situations such as when Shelly sees chaos at the playground and exclaims, "Taking turns works," or when Nina crawls across the table instead of saying, "Please pass the pickles." The stories show why it is important for children to understand that pushing is rude or talking behind someone's back is mean.

The book is published by Barron's Educational Series. The hardcover 32-page book is priced at $5.95.


'Longitude' comes back in illustrated form

"When I'm playful I use the meridians of longitude and parallels of latitude for a seine, and drag the Atlantic Ocean for whales." -- Mark Twain, "Life on the Mississippi"

Dave Sobel's national bestseller "Longitude" has been updated and illustrated. "The Illustrated Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time" includes more than 180 integrated illustrations -- photographs, drawings, and maps in color and black-and-white.

The book tells how, though Ptolemy's original sketches helped create the first map of the world, sailors such as Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan often sailed aimlessly until John Harrison invented the H-3, a clock that could successfully keep time at sea and thus enable ships to stay on target for their destinations.

Harrison's invention solved the greatest scientific problem of his time.

In early October "Nova" will air a program based on the book to tie in with the Oct. 15 publication date of the 240-page book.

Captain Cook

Captain Cook and the world he charted

It's a thin book, but the tale it tells is enormous. "Captain Cook & His Explorations of the Pacific" is the story of Britain's most famous scientific navigator and his charting of the South Seas.

Published by Barron's Educational Series, the 32-page paperback is filled with color images and maps detailing Cook's origins, early life, and explorations that ended with his untimely death in Hawaii while on his third voyage.

The text is tightly written -- how else can the story be told in such a brief missive? -- yet it provides deep insight into Cook and his times.

The book, part of the Barron's "Great Explorers" series, was written in association with Britain's National Maritime Museum and the HM Bark Endeavor Foundation.

The "Great Explorers" series, introduced this year by Barron's, is geared towards readers age 10 and up. Three other books in the series that will be in stores this month are "Drake & 16th Century Explorers", "Magellan & the Exploration of South America", and "Columbus & the Renaissance Explorers".

Another four in the series will be released in October, focusing on explorers of North America, Africa, space and aviation. Beer!

1,000 barrels of beer on the wall...

Did you know that Foster's Lager -- "Australian for beer, mate" -- is actually brewed in Canada? Or that Sam Adams Boston Lager is brewed in Pittsburgh? Who is Honey Tree Evil Eye and what does Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-South Carolina) have against her?

This and more is what author Philip Van Munching says you'll learn from his book, "Beer Blast: The Inside Story of the Brewing Industry's Bizarre Battles for Your Money".

Van Munching, grandson of the founder of Van Munching & Co., importers of Heineken, offers a first-hand account of the take-no-prisoners battles waged between Coors, Miller, Anheuser-Busch, and every other brewer and importer in the United States.

Published by Random House, this is a story of an industry run amok, where dogs and talking frogs have become celebrity spokespeople meant to influence your choice for "a cold one."