Book Rhi-view: Seeing Red: The True Story of Blood by Tanya Lloyd Kyi

Seeing Red: The True Story of Blood by Tanya Lloyd Kyi (Illustrated by Steve Rolston)
Non-Fiction, Science, Mythology, History
Hardcover $22.95 (120 pages, ANNICK PRESS)
Paperback $14.95
What do we really know about the vital stuff in our veins? Some people faint at the sight of blood while others eat black pudding or sip blood soup. Some can’t think of it without hearing the faint rustle of a vampire’s cape. Others rush to see the latest gory horror film. Why does blood hold such emotional power? Around the world, blood has always been a symbol of both life and death: blood rites, blood oaths, and blood-soaked legends. Today, we have scientific facts about blood types, transfusions, blood-borne illnesses, and crime-scene blood spatter. Yet the fluid still holds mystery. Open this book to learn about the symbolism and reality of blood, from its role in ancient sacrifices to its uses in modern medicine and forensics. Striking black-and-red illustrations appear throughout, with each chapter introduced in comic-book style by young Harker, a goth narrator with a worrisome relish for all things bloody. As SEEING RED reveals, blood continues to make us cringe while holding us in its thrall. (Age 10 and up)
Publisher Site: Annick Press

Some Bloody Good NonFic Reading for Tweens (5 stars)

If your child has ever been curious about blood in any way shape or form this is a great book to get the conversation rolling. With my husband working in the blood industry and my being an avid reader of vampire fiction my tweenager gets plenty of exposure to discussions of blood but there have always been areas of curiosity that we'd never touched on. When I saw SEEING RED I had to check it out.

This is one jam-packed book. My tween is very much a reluctant reader unless he discovers a book himself but even he was intrigued when I'd call him over to share some of the fascinating info within. I loved that it focused not only on the scientific side of blood like how people learned what it really does and how our bodies use it but contains a massive amount of cultural stuff as well. Afterall, ancient people had very different beliefs about blood than what we know today. It was fun reading the parts about how blood is consumed with my kid who thought it was 'sooo disgusting'.

The only issue I found with SEEING RED was actually in the formatting. Occasionally the images would overlap sections of text making it impossible to read a few lines in full. Artistically speaking the blood drops and bandages give it a great look but not being able to read some text should just have been a no-no. The comic about Harker meeting vampires is a cute aside as he learns the blood stuff along with the reader though.

On the whole I would love to see this in our school library because I think this was both educational and entertaining, a combination I want to see more of for this age group. As an adult I was impressed with the variety of topics and how it was all presented. Fascinating discussions are sure to follow reading about the Holy Grail and porphyria, 'blood brothers' and menstruation, vampires and the criminology of blood spatter.

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.

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