A dribble of scientific information about everyone’s favorite bloodsucking worm provides a Canadian cartoonist with opportunities for some rousingly icky visual commentary.
The informational text comprises such lines as “Most leeches live in fresh water,” or “Oftentimes, doctors would apply up to 100 leeches per session,” arranged in no discernible order and placed inconspicuously at the bottom of each page. They caption cartoon scenes of a young collector cheerfully dumping a slimy bucketful into his horrified parent’s bathwater, a doctor leaning over a desiccated patient (“Something tells me we might have left these leeches on a bit too long”), a child refusing to enter a pond for fear of the creatures—unaware that her back is covered with them—and other views of comically caricatured leeches and their prey in action or conversation. Though readers will be at least exposed to some basic information about these creatures’ habitats, body parts, dietary habits, reproductive practices and uses in medicine, Sampar’s gross-out gags and comics will definitely make, and leave, the more lasting impression. This outing is published with seven series mates that offer less revolting but no less superficial (and, OK, diverting) introductions to chameleons, crocodiles, crows, porcupines, rats, spiders and toads.
Strong-stomached browsers will lap these up; budding naturalists will find better intellectual nourishment elsewhere.(glossary, index) (Graphic nonfiction. 8-10)