For readers fond of the disgusting, Twist provides a lively introduction to slime in the natural world.
From pond slime and red tide to phlegm and living snot mold, the author surveys the slick, sticky substance produced by living organisms for protection, digestion, defense and more. In some cases the organism itself is the slime. This disparate material has been organized into three sections: “Slimy Stuff in Water,” “Slimy Stuff on Land” and “Other Slimy Stuff.” Short snappy segments of informal text face full-page, full-bleed color photographs. Additional photos bring organisms close-up: a sea cucumber’s feeding tentacles; droplets of cane toad poison; the spore-bearing slime of the lattice stinkhorn. The yuck effect is heightened by a design that includes a dripping blue or green top border, occasional blobs on the page and a “slime-o-meter” rating. Middle-grade and middle-school readers may well be acquainted with the slippery surface of a jellyfish or frog, though they may not have connected that substance with their own saliva. But colonies of amoebae that creep and crawl are the stuff of science fiction. The natural world has plenty of surprises! A helpful glossary defines terms bolded in the text. There’s an index but no sources or suggestions for further research for those who want more (and what kid wouldn't?).
Still, this small title has big appeal. (Nonfiction. 9-15)