That irritating itch that cannot be scratched away is an experience just about everybody can relate to, and here are the entertaining and informative explanations of what’s behind those itches.
There are approximately 500 sweat glands, 20 blood vessels, and 1,000 nerve endings in 1 square inch of skin, and there’s lots of flora and fauna to irritate that sensitive epidermis. In an engaging, substantive text and comical color illustrations, Sanchez and Ford reveal the assorted plants and creepy crawlies that make us itch and scratch. The tiny critters who irritate, such as bedbugs, fleas, lice, and mosquitoes, all share the common goal of sucking our blood. If you are an unfortunate recipient of skunk spray, the itch it gives you may be worse than the smell. You should handle caterpillars and tarantulas with care. When you’re strolling through the great outdoors, beware of poison ivy, oak, and sumac, nettles, prickly pears, and burrs. There’s great advice on how to soothe your itches and nontoxic alternatives for keeping away the sources. Itching isn’t necessarily a bad thing; a good scratch can alert us that something’s wrong, and the “hygiene hypothesis” posits that irritating things may actually make us healthier. Humans depicted in Ford’s colorful cartoons are of varying skin tones; the vibe for the depictions of such pests as lice and fleas is humorous rather than icky, offering a nice balance to the text.
A fun, intriguing, and accessible mix of anatomy and history, with a healthy dose of gross. (glossary, notes, bibliography, websites, index) (Nonfiction. 7-10)