Monday, July 25, 2016

Book Review: Your Health and You

Title: Your Health and You

Author: Edwina Jones et al.

Date: 1949

Publisher: Laidlaw

ISBN: none

Length: 314 pages plus 6-page index

Illustrations: color drawings/paintings by Milo Winter et al.

Quote: “You will learn among other things about the five senses…You will also learn how to care for and to protect your body.”

This book was part of a series of graded elementary school textbooks. Which grade this particular volume was intended for is not clearly marked, although Amazon indicates it was for grade five. The focus on the sensory organs reminds me of grade five; the quality of explanation this book offers suggests an earlier grade.

Some of the information seems downright quaint.

“To avoid odor your body may need bathing even when it looks clean. Invery warm weather you will need a bath every day…Many people take a bath at least once a day the year around.”  (Yes, Gentle Readers, in the 1940s many White Americans still washed the sections of skin that didn’t show only once a week.)

“The front teeth are the cutters and the back teeth are the grinders.” (In the 1940s “single teeth” and “double teeth” were also used. By the 1970s these alternative terms were considered slang; textbooks specified incisors, cuspids, bicuspids, and molars.)

“You have heard the words, tonsils and adenoids, many times before…No doubt some of you have had them removed.” (In the 1940s many doctors recommended removing almost all children’s tonsils, on the theory that, where there are no tonsils, there can be no tonsillitis. By the 1970s doctors were beginning to notice that, where there are no tonsils or tonsillitis, there is likely to be more serious infection, and also more snoring and sleep apnea.)

“You have all seen the soot and smoke pouring out of the chimneys of houses and factories every day.” (Some improvements have been made.)

“You may come home from school ready to play and find that your mother needs something from the grocery. She cannot finish dinner until someone does the errand for her.”

Schools discard books long before they start to sound as outdated as that, but should they? Carefully considered, this collectible book has much to teach us about health and about history. 

Committee-authored schoolbooks aren't Fair Trade Books, even if any of the authors of this one are alive, but check out those prices on Amazon! To buy this one online, here, will currently cost the usual $5 per book + $5 per package; this price is subject to increases. Payment may be sent to either address at the very bottom of the screen and, as always, as many other books as fit into the package can be added for the same $5 shipping charge.