Critics' Picks review - Argh! There's a Skeleton Inside You!

Critics' Picks

There are over 2,000 new books to browse and read in our Critics’ Picks collection, in the Governor Marie Bashir Reading Room. Every book has been reviewed by top critics, including the Australian Book Review, New York Review of books, the Times Literary Supplement and the London Review of Books.

Have you made any surprising discoveries on our shelves?

Critics' Picks photo - Argh! There's a Skeleton Inside You!
A look at one of the great books for kids (and big kids) available in our collection.

A blob and a gas cloud are on their way to a birthday party. What could possibly go wrong? Well, a lot if their spacecraft breaks down!

Argh, There’s a Skeleton Inside You! by Idan Ben-Barak and Julian Frost introduces young readers (or listeners!) to the concept of bones, muscles and nerves.

Quog and Oort are two aliens – a blob and a gas cloud, respectively – who need to repair their spaceship when it breaks down on the way to their friend Kevin’s birthday party. With the help of the reader, Quog manages to grow arms, and they both discover the need for bones, muscles and nerves, in order to repair the spacecraft and be on their way.

This book is a fun mix of crazy (blobby aliens) and fact (the scientific explanation of how the body moves). Little readers will love the interaction woven into every page – the reader is an integral part of the story as Quog and Oort discover all about the human body. They are asked to ‘give this page a push’ to demonstrate how the skeleton works and ‘lift this book above your head’ to show Quog and Oort how muscles are used.

Critics' Picks - Argh! There's a Skeleton Inside You! cover photo
The author, Idan Ben-Barak, is a scientist with a knack of explaining concepts simply. His previous book for pre-schoolers was Do Not Lick This Book (a title just asking for soggy pages) which delved into the world of everyday microbes. He has also authored several titles on scientific concepts for young adults.

The bright and eye-catching illustrations are by artist and animator Julian Frost, who also collaborated on Do Not Lick This Book. He manages to combine cartoon imagery with basic scientific accuracy to create a very simple, yet visually appealing, aesthetic.

Although there are only really three concepts explored, and next to no plot development, this book is a rollicking read-aloud for two to six-year olds interested in how the body works. I enjoyed reading it, complete with ‘alien’ voices.

My four-year-old test subject most enjoyed the amount of interaction with the story, as well as the sheer nonsense of the plot. “A blob? Going to a party? That’s crazy!”

From librarian mum – 4 stars out of five.

From four-year-old – Sixty thousand million hundred.

Reviewer: Emma Gray, Librarian, Information & Access


“[A] basic science primer for pre-schoolers to early primary schoolers…hopefully the book will inspire budding scientists to learn more about the rest of the human body.” – Books + Publishing


Idan Ben-Barak has written three books. They’ve been translated into over a dozen languages and won a couple of awards. He lives in a smallish apartment in Melbourne, Australia with his wife and their two boys. Sometimes, after they go to bed, he grabs his guitar and make up harmless little tunes. He has degrees in microbiology and in the history and philosophy of science, a diploma in library studies, and a day job that has very little to do with any of the above.

Julian Frost is an animation director and illustrator and occasional game maker who lives in Melbourne, Australia. According to his official bio, “I try to make my work funny or failing that at least cheerful and nicely designed.” His work has won an Annecy Cristal, Cannes Lion Grand Prix, Webbys, and has been honoured by the London Design Museum.