A fun, intriguing, and accessible mix of anatomy and history, with a healthy dose of gross.

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ITCH!

EVERYTHING YOU DIDN'T WANT TO KNOW ABOUT WHAT MAKES YOU SCRATCH

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)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-81101-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

GET THE SCOOP ON ANIMAL SNOT, SPIT & SLIME!

FROM SNAKE VENOM TO FISH SLIME, 251 COOL FACTS ABOUT MUCUS, SALIVA & MORE

Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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Convincing evidence that the boundaries between us and them aren’t all that sharp.

HUMANIMAL

INCREDIBLE WAYS ANIMALS ARE JUST LIKE US!

Eye-opening discoveries for readers who think only humans grieve, play, or admire themselves in mirrors.

Claiming the titular word (wrongly) as his own coinage, Lloyd develops the theme that many animals display behavior or characteristics once thought exclusively human, from living in cities (termites) to feeling emotions like love and grief (elephants, bonobos). The author extends commonly seen examples: Yes, as Jane Goodall has proven, chimps do use tools, but so do Australian black kites, which have been seen carrying burning sticks from fires to nearby grasslands to stir up prey. He also points to observations of bees communally deciding on where to establish a new hive; ravens repeatedly rolling down hills for, evidently, fun; and even slime molds showing a knack for constructing networks between food sources that rival for efficiency anything that civil engineers can concoct. In many reports he names animal researchers (though all but two of the 15 in his closing biographical gallery are white and European or American) and describes specific incidents or experiments. Ruffle adds big, boldly hued views of stylized but expressively posed, easily recognizable creatures against monochromatic or simplified natural backgrounds. The rare human figures are nearly all actual portraits.

Convincing evidence that the boundaries between us and them aren’t all that sharp. (index, selected scientific publications) (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-912920-01-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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