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Microscopic mammalian anatomy shines in a visual guide to cell biology

The Cell: A Visual Tour of the Building Block of Life

Jack Challoner
Ivy Press
192 pp.
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Age Range: Young Adult

Grade Level: 9 – 12

If you want a lovely coffee-table book about basic cell biology, you could do worse than The Cell. The book is very beautifully illustrated. (We cell biologists do love a good picture, after all.) Offering highlights from the history of the study of cells, the book reminds us that single celled
organisms are just as important, and indeed more numerous, than multicellular organisms.

Budding cell biologists will quickly warm to the themes and ideas explained by author Jack Challoner, who takes the reader on a brief tour through intracellular organization, describes different types of cell division, and provides a snapshot of the variety of cell types that make up a human body. The book communicates the amazing complexity of a structure that, at first glance, appears to be “just a bag of chemicals,” to paraphrase Challoner.
Here’s the problem: The book looks and feels very much like a textbook. How many young adults do you know who will look at a textbook that they haven’t been assigned? Those that do will be rewarded with a very good introduction to fundamental aspects of the biology of the cell.