WICKED BUGS

THE MEANEST, DEADLIEST, GROSSEST BUGS ON EARTH

Entomophobes will find all of this horrifyingly informative.

This junior edition of Stewart’s lurid 2011 portrait gallery of the same name (though much less gleeful subtitle) loses none of its capacity for leaving readers squicked-out.

The author drops a few entries, notably the one on insect sexual practices, and rearranges toned-down versions of the rest into roughly topical sections. Beginning with the same cogent observation—“We are seriously outnumbered”—she follows general practice in thrillers of this ilk by defining “bug” broadly enough to include all-too-detailed descriptions of the life cycles and revolting or deadly effects of scorpions and spiders, ticks, lice, and, in a chapter evocatively titled “The Enemy Within,” such internal guests as guinea worms and tapeworms. Mosquitoes, bedbugs, the ubiquitous “Filth Fly,” and like usual suspects mingle with more-exotic threats, from the tongue-eating louse and a “yak-killer hornet” (just imagine) to the aggressive screw-worm fly that, in one cited case, flew up a man’s nose and laid hundreds of eggs…that…hatched. Morrow-Cribbs’ close-up full-color drawings don’t offer the visceral thrills of the photos in, for instance, Rebecca L. Johnson’s Zombie Makers (2012) but are accurate and finely detailed enough to please even the fussiest young entomologists.

Entomophobes will find all of this horrifyingly informative. (index, glossary, resource lists) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61620-755-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

BLIZZARD!

THE STORM THAT CHANGED AMERICA

In the same format as his Newbery Honor title The Great Fire (1995), Murphy brings the blizzard of 1888 to life. He shows how military weather-monitoring practices, housing and employment conditions, and politics regarding waste management, transportation monopolies, and utilities regulation, all contributed to—and were subsequently affected by—the disaster. He does so through an appealing narrative, making use of first-hand accounts whose sources he describes in his notes at the end (though, disappointingly he cites nothing directly in the text). The wealth of quotable material made available through the letters of members of “the Society of Blizzard Men and Blizzard Ladies” and other sources help to make the story vivid. Many drawings and photographs (some of the blizzard, but most of related scenes) illustrate the text. These large reproductions are all in a sepia-tone that matches the color of the typeface—an effect that feels over-the-top, but doesn’t detract significantly from the power of the story. Murphy’s ability to pull in details that lend context allows him to tell this story of a place in time through the lens of a single, dramatic episode that will engage readers. This is skillfully done: humorous, jaw-dropping, thought-provoking, and chilling. (index) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-590-67309-2

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2000

THUNDER ON THE PLAINS

THE STORY OF THE AMERICAN BUFFALO

“In 1875 there were perhaps fifty million of them. Just twenty-five years later nearly every one of them was gone.” The author of many nonfiction books for young people (Bridges; Truck; Giants of the Highways, etc.) tells the story of the American bison, from prehistory, when Bison latifrons walked North America along with the dinosaurs, to the recent past when the Sioux and other plains Indians hunted the familiar bison. Robbins uses historic photographs, etchings, and paintings to show their sad history. To the Native Americans of the plains, the buffalo was central to their way of life. Arriving Europeans, however, hunted for sport, slaughtering thousands for their hides, or to clear the land for the railroad, or farmers. One telling photo shows a man atop a mountain of buffalo skulls. At the very last moment, enough individuals “came to their senses,” and worked to protect the remaining few. Thanks to their efforts, this animal is no longer endangered, but the author sounds a somber note as he concludes: “the millions are gone, and they will never come back.” A familiar story, well-told, and enhanced by the many well-chosen period photographs. (photo credits) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83025-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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