Kids take a literal view of the body.
When Dr. Eugene Lipov tried to illustrate the size of the heart by picturing it next to a fist, his 6-year-old son Sam asked, "Why are you punching the heart?"
So Lipov took that illustration out of his new children's book.
The result is "The Adventures of Captain Heart," a book about how to keep a healthy heart, aimed at 3- to 7-year-olds.
Lipov hopes the book will help reduce childhood obesity, which federal statistics show has increased significantly among children of all ages, including preschoolers.
As medical director for Advanced Pain Centers in Hoffman Estates and Westmont, Lipov got the idea for the book when he tried to tell his son's class about heart health and couldn't find any children's books to help him.
His son Sam critiqued the book into its 11th rewrite, changing Captain Heart from a two-dimensional Valentine heart to a muscular, Rambo-style superhero, to reflect the hard work the heart must do.
In schoolroom demonstrations, Dr. Lipov uses an amplified stethoscope to let children hear their hearts at rest, then has them do jumping jacks to hear their hearts pumping fast.
He hopes parents and pediatricians will use the book to capitalize on kids' natural curiosity about what's going on inside their bodies and to teach healthy eating and exercise before children develop bad habits.
The book is available for $12 per copy at captainheart.org.