THE BODY BOOK: A Fantastic Voyage to the World Within, by David Bodanis (Little, Brown and Company, $24.95). Saliva bubbles, a scab forming, fat cells and morning mouth are just a few of the 140 surreally compelling photographs in this fascinating travelogue into the world within. An equally enchanting narrative takes the reader through a day in the life of the human body, revealing the complex workings of such seemingly simple acts as lifting the head off the pillow or stretching after hard work. Side trips to states of being include stress, sexual desire, pain, pregnancy, fear and anger. Science writer Bodanis packs the book with remarkable physical trivia, such as the virtual impossibility of beginning to urinate without holding one's breath and the ability of the uterus (the body's strongest muscle) to break an ill-fated obstetrician's finger.
THE FACTS OF LIFE, by Jonathan Miller and David Pelham (Viking, $18.95). Multi-talented Jonathan Miller -- doctor, actor, director and author of The Body in Question -- has answered one of humanity's most asked questions, "Where did I come from?," in an astonishingly clever, three-dimensional book. In just 12 pages, he and co-author David Pelham -- a book designer and writer -- explore the secrets of human reproduction in pop-up models of the male and female reproductive systems. Pull tabs let the reader follow the path of an egg from ovulation to fertilization to implantation, explain the workings of the chromosomes and the process of cell division. Explanations are clear and simple, revealing both the facts and the wonder of the creation of new life.$90Carol Krucoff