Dog behavior, fruit flies, and basic sex ed.
November 13, 2010 11:30 PM   Subscribe

[Children's Book Filter] I am trying to remember the name of an oversized book geared toward children, in the tween and adolescent set.

As a child, I found and collected many books - from public library sales to retail and consignment stores. One book particularly fascinated me.

Inside this book were sections on a house's kitchen that was over-run with fruit flies, and another talking about dog behavior. This section included drawings of a yellow labrador-type dog in a growling stance, in a playful stance, and gave small descriptions of how to understand dog behavior and body language.

From memory, a woman most likely authored the book. I encountered and read the book in the mid- to late 1990s, although based on the design it looked like it may have been published in the 1980s, although 1990s is also possible (or earlier than the '80s). The book seemed to be based on a family, and was divided into sections. One part of the book had detailed explanations, with anatomically correct drawings, of male and female reproductive anatomy. Another part of the book discussed putting cool and slightly damp washcloth compresses on a daughter's forehead in bed when she felt overheated or fevered on a summer's night.

The book was comprehensive, sprawling, and included many black and white photographs, as well as drawings. Subjects ranged from worms in soil to animal behavior, and human anatomy to fruit flies and how to stay cool in the summertime. I wish I could remember the title. It was a thick book, and longer than it was wide.

Does anyone remember this book and, if so, what is its title? Thanks for help in figuring out this mystery.
posted by simulacra to Writing & Language (4 answers total)
Was it The Easy How-To Book? I haven't seen or thought about that book in years, but I had a copy in the early to late 80's and the part you describe about the washcloth compresses sounds familiar.

I still use tricks that book taught me, and I'm 31.
posted by Fuego at 3:54 PM on November 14, 2010

The dog body language stuff I know I have seen before, in a book that looked similar to the one you're describing - I think I got it around 1991. Was there maybe also a part about how to view an eclipse? I can't for the life of me remember what it was called, but my parents might still have it somewhere - I will look around when I go home for Christmas, if no one else has solved the mystery before then.
posted by naoko at 9:44 PM on November 14, 2010

Response by poster: fuego, thanks for the suggestion! Hm, no, the Easy How-To book isn't it. The language (from my child memory!) in which the book is written was definitely *not* a Golden Book-type book, and it didn't have lists of this and that; it seemed more - for lack of a better word - organic. Almost narrative and idiosyncratic in how it shifted.

naoko, I don't remember anything about an eclipse, but it's very possible! Thanks for checking for me.

I've tried searching for this book when returning to my parent's house, but couldn't find it, and (if I ever find out its title) hope to find and buy a used copy one day.
posted by simulacra at 2:37 PM on November 15, 2010

Response by poster: Update: I found the book in my parents' house! It's called The Science Book, by Sara Stein, and was published in 1979.

I love this book, and am about to peruse it again.
posted by simulacra at 8:22 PM on April 16, 2011

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