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Children's Nonfiction Anatomy & Physiology

Tastes Like Music

17 Quirks of the Brain and Body

by (author) Maria Birmingham

illustrated by Monika Melnychuk

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Oct 2014
Anatomy & Physiology, Curiosities & Wonders, Diseases, Illnesses & Injuries
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2014
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2014
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7


Humans may all look pretty much the same on the outside, but some people have unique conditions and abilities that will amaze you! Whether it's having no fingerprints at all (adermatoglyphia), hearing music every time you taste chocolate (synesthesia), or being able to see one hundred million colors (tetrachromacy), some conditions bring our understanding of the human body to another level entirely.

Take an unparalleled tour of the hows and whys of these extraordinary human conditions with Tastes Like Music. Accessible and playful, each section presents an awe-inspiring snapshot of the biology behind one of 17 quirks, while short interviews with people affected by these conditions (including the author!) provide windows into real-life experiences.

The book takes a balanced approach, highlighting the pros and cons of each condition and providing plenty of general facts about the human body, too. Readers will delight in the illustrations throughout and come away with a new appreciation for all the weird and wonderful things the human brain and body can do.

About the authors

MARIA BIRMINGHAM is a longstanding contributor to OWL and Chickadee magazines, and the award-winning author of several books for young people, including Acting Wild, Biometrics, and A Beginner's Guide to Immortality: From Alchemy to Avatars. Maria lives in Brampton, Ontario.


Maria Birmingham's profile page

Monika Melnychuk`s illustrations have been featured in Fashion18, Chickadee, Owl, UTNE Reader and the New York Times, among other publications. She is also the illustrator of Girl in the Know, and Centsibility in KCP`s Planet Girl series.

Monika Melnychuk's profile page


  • Short-listed, Alberta Children's Choice Rocky Mountain Book Award
  • Short-listed, British Columbia Children's Choice Red Cedar Award
  • A Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Book for Kids and Teens
  • Lane Anderson Award for Canadian Science Writing (finalist)
  • Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award (shortlisted)

Editorial Reviews

"This book will provide fun facts about extreme conditions that some humans experience... Each content area starts with an attention-grabbing title; the colorful illustrations and page layout make it student-friendly."

Library Media Connection

"A well-researched, informative, and entertaining exploration of what makes us uniquely human."

National Reading Campaign

"The attractive format, casual with brightly colored pages and cartoonlike illustrations on each spread, combines with the high-interest topic to make it appear readily approachable ... an entertaining presentation of a fascinating topic."

Kirkus Reviews

"This fact-filled text should prove useful for both a school and classroom library collection."

Resource Links

"Birmingham does an unusually fine job of her overviews, making them genuinely fresh and informative while keeping them to an accessible length. This is a quick pick that balances legitimate scientific interest with believe-it-or-not appeal..."

Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books

"The unusual topic combined with an accessible, conversational writing tone will keep readers engaged from start to finish... All in all, this is an informative, fascinating, and altogether unique book – perfect for late elementary school students and middle school students."

Asheville Citizen-Times

"This book makes the reader appreciate the design and complexity of the human body and mind."

Canadian Review of Materials

"An intriguing introduction to the body's outside-the-norm capabilities."

Publishers Weekly

"The colorful illustrations, eye-catching layout, and high-interest subject matter combine to make this hard to put down..."


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