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Double Talking Helix Blues

Subject Area(s):  MultimediaChildren's BooksGeneral Interest Titles

By Joel Herskowitz, New England Medical Center Hospitals, Boston
Illustrated by Judy Cuddihy, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; 
additional text by Ira Herskowitz, University of California at San Francisco

Special Audio Accompaniment for the Double Talking Helix Blues:
Click here to listen or right-click to download the MP3 file

© 1994 • 32 fully illustrated 4-color pages
Cloth •
ISBN  978-087969431-9

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  •     Description    
  •     Reviews    


"...the point of this story, I'll tell you right now.
Did you ever sit down and think about how
It is that each time a baby's born
It's a baby -- not a rabbit or an ear of corn?"

The answer is in DNA -- the stuff that genes are made of. Twin brothers Joel and Ira Herskowitz, physician and scientist, respectively, have come up with a new way to explain to children (ages 8+) how it is that when a person's genetic message is "copied," the result is another human being -- not a rabbit or an ear of corn.

Based on a song written by Joel Herskowitz while he was in medical school, the "Double Talking Helix Blues" is a book and audio presentation on the structure and function of DNA. The book includes the text for Joel's song, which is illustrated with spectacular paintings by Judy Cuddihy to provide an important visual component to the overall "lesson" on DNA.

This is followed by a guide written by Ira Herskowitz to explain the scientific terms and concepts in the song; this section describes in clear terms what, for example, a chromosome, nucleus, and molecule are. Accompanying the book is an audio performances of the song by Joel and Ira. Click here to listen, or right-click to download the MP3 file now!

All in all, the "Double Talking Helix Blues" provides young readers with a wonderful introduction to concepts of cells and molecules, reproduction at the molecular level, and DNA and its structure. The target age group for this presentation is ages 8 and up, as well as teachers, scientists, and all those interested in molecular biology at its most basic level.


review:  "Drawings of chromosomes, DNA, and Watson and Crick are cleverly interwoven with the lyrics to produce a pleasing story at whatever level the reader decides to adopt."
      —Trends in Cell Biology