Open the book's front cover and a skull leers out at you. A three-dimensional gaping mouth opens and closes.

Some new kind of kiddie-chiller? Look again. Peer down the throat of this pop-up head and catch the tonsils, the throat, the epiglottis . . .

It is The Human Body, by Dr. Jonathan Miller and designer David Pelham (Viking, $16.95), probably the best paper anatomy lesson since Gray's classic Anatomy. The artful and educational volume of paper pop-ups and pull-tabs are designed to demonstrate just how the body works.

Miller, Great Britain's Renaissance man of the '80s, was part of the comic team "Beyond the Fringe," later produced the BBC's "The Body in Question" series and still later produced and directed some of the BBC Shakespeare plays. He also is executive producer of a major European opera company and continues to practice medicine.

The pop-up anatomy book is a must for children and useful for anybody who isn't all that sure where any particular organ is, or what it does. And the multilayered centerfold is a wonder to behold: It exposes the body layer by layer, right before your eyes--neck to thighs--muscles, ribs, intestines, stomach, heart, lungs, bladder and other organs, all numbered and described in Miller's neatly turned methaphors. (The brain is "command module of a space capsule--the body.")

Dr. Gray, eat your heart out. (Second pop-up from the end.)

Other healthy reading:

* PMS, Premenstrual Syndrome by Dr. Ronald V. Norris with Colleen Sullivan (Rawson Associates, $15.95). Norris, a psychiatrist, is one of this country's pioneers in the identification and treatment of a syndrome that science for centuries has relegated to the imaginings of neurotic women. Pre-menstrual syndrome in many women may very well be a physiological disturbance causing moderate to extremely severe behavioral upsets every month just before their menstrual periods. The book provides an update of studies and treatments.

* No More Hot Flashes and Other Good News by Dr. Penny Wise Budoff ($14.95, G.P. Putnam's Sons.) A useful compendium of new developments in gynecology. Budoff is a family practitioner who, virtually single-handed, stimulated the use in this country of prostaglandin inhibitors (like Motrin or Anaprox) to control menstrual cramps. The new book is a guide to decision making on such controversial matters as estrogen replacement therapy, mastectomy for breast cancer, and when--or whether--to have a hysterectomy.

* Menopause, A Guide for Women and the Men Who Love Them by Winnifred Berg Cutler, Ph.D., Dr. Celso-Ram'on Garc'ia and David A. Edwards, Ph.D. ($15, W.W. Norton). An up-to-date, sensible and sensitive text that puts to the lie the myths about post-menopausal sexless "hags." It is a non-patronizing look at the physiology of female aging, and what can and cannot be done to avert/treat/reverse disorders connected with mid-life changes. Slightly more technical than Budoff's book.

* The Complete University Medical Diet by Dr. Maria Simonson and Joan Rattner Heilman ($13.95, Rawson Associates). One of the most sensible diet books around. Incorporates many of the behavior-modification strategies that seem to work better at getting weight off and keeping it off--at least for a while longer than any of the quick-fixers. Simonson is director of the Johns Hopkins University Health, Weight and Stress Center. Probably not a do-it-yourself diet book, but may be useful as an adjunct to professional diet-management therapy.

The Georgetown University Medical Center's Diet Management and Eating Disorders Program and the American University psychology department are cosponsoring a test of a "package" of behavioral approaches to bulimia, the compulsive binge-purge eating disorder.

The approach has been used with some success on individual patients, but because it requires a therapist and a patient to be together for long hours at a time, it is seen as "labor intensive" and "not cost-effective." The new technique will combine the one-on-one approach with group therapy.

Young women (between 18 and 35) in the program, called "exposure and response prevention," will be seen in small groups for 12 two-hour sessions over a period of six weeks. No medications will be used. The center expects to treat about 20 women in the study. Participants will be charged on a sliding scale. (Maximum charge per session will be $30.)

For more information, call the Georgetown Diet Management and Eating Disorders Center: 625-3674 or Dr. James Gray, 686-2312.

The Dance Place will present a two-day "Body/Mind Festival of Wellness," tomorrow and Sunday at its Adams Morgan studio.

Sponsored by D.C. Wheel Productions, the workshops will feature eight area self-health proponents, including Carol Boggs on the Alexander Technique, Barbara Dunn on Body Centered Psychotherapy and Michael Shapiro on the Feldenkrais Technique. Cost, $45 for all seven sessions, or $8 per single session. For more information: 462-1321.

The Capitol Hill Wholistic Health Center is sponsoring a four-week Wednesday-night seminar series for young and mid-life adults, beginning Wednesday.

"Take Good Care of Yourself" will feature sessions on managing stress, communicating, health care and balancing roles. Cost, $10 per session, $25 for the series. Registration required. 547-5070.