The Quest to Digest book cover image

The Quest to Digest

  • 795

By: Mary Corcoran / Illustrated by: Jef Czekaj

A magical journey through the digestive system

Humorous text and illustrations follow an apple's journey through the human digestive system. Discover why mucus is so important to your body and how food particles are absorbed by the small intestine and turned into energy. Readers also learn why we burp, vomit, and pass gas.

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Mary Corcoran, author

Mary Corcoran writes a science column for kids, which appears in The Redding Pilot. She is the author of THE QUEST TO DIGEST and THE CIRCULATORY STORY. Mary lives in Redding, Connecticut.

Read more about Mary.

Jef Czekaj, illustrator

Jef Czekaj is a cartoonist, musician, and poster artist who lives and works in Somerville, Massachusetts. His adventure comic strip, Grandpa and Julie: Shark Hunters, is read by over a million children monthly in Spanish and English in Nickelodeon Magazine. A Zeric-award-winning collection of the first 3 years of this strip has been collected in a book of the same name (Top Shelf). His self-published comic Hypertruck has been called "the funniest indie-obsessed subcultural screed ever photocopied" by the Seattle Stranger.

Read more about Jef.

Awards & Honors:

  • A Parents' Choice Recommended Award Winner
  • IRA/CBC Children's Choices

Editorial Reviews:

School Library Journal

This graphically appealing, colorful, and fact-rich "story" describes the importance of food to the body by following an apple as it goes through the human digestion system. While there is no index, it is fairly easy to find information on each stage of digestion, from eating, saliva production, and movement through the esophagus, stomach, and intestines to the happy ending. Abundant, humorous cartoons and clever text handle explanations of belching, passing gas, and diarrhea. This picture book would be useful for reports, but it's more for general interest.

Science Books & Films

This is a well-illustrated book that both kids and adults will enjoy. The Quest to Digest is an easy, fun, interesting, accessible, entertaining account of the digestive process. The funny and witty illustrations are very useful and effective at conveying a complex idea to a child. For example, the brain is portrayed as a sergeant commanding his "troops" the salivary glands, to start secreting when the brain smells or thinks about food. Another concept that can be tricky to explain to students of any age is cellular respiration, but author Mary Corcoran does an admirable job with this topic in just a few sentences, a truly remarkable feat. The book has a clear glossary with definitions and pronunciations of the various terms used; however, pronunciations would be useful within the main text. Also, terms such as "enzyme" and "trachea" are used without lay explanations and thus may be confusing to kids if they don't look them up in the glossary. A minor problem with the anatomy illustrations is that the common bile duct is not shown to be connected to the duodenum. The information in the book is really boiled down and presented in a fun, kid-friendly way. Adults can learn a ton form this as well. This wonderful book is an anatomy, biochemistry, and physiology lesson, in addition to a fun read!


ISBN: 978-1-57091-665-6

ISBN: 978-1-60734-118-5 PDF
For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

Ages: 8-12
Page count: 32
81/2 x 11

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The Circulatory Story
Inventions That Could Have Changed the World...But Didn't!
Crazy Concoctions
Science Stunts