Thankfully, most stuff rots.
This colorfully illustrated effort is aimed at a grade school audience that’s sure to be appreciative of an oft-stinky subject. Sanchez breaks the broad topic of decay down into a multitude of subtopics, covering dung beetles, animal scavengers, fungi, the decomposition of a log, earthworms, decomposition in the home, a comparison of natural rot vs. what doesn’t happen in a landfill, and finally, human decomposition—including mummies and preserving bodies in honey or alcohol. The information is doled out in small doses, usually just a paragraph at a time, and always on brightly colored pages (a couple of which are a bit challenging to read because of insufficient contrast between text and page color). Plenty of amusing, cartoony illustrations accompany the text and enhance its accessibility. Basic instructions are included for creating a compost pile, growing red worms, and making whole wheat bread. Although the illustrations and bright pages give the book a frivolous look, the information is generally accurate and in sufficient depth for the audience. The bibliography consists almost entirely of adult reading materials, however, and there are no suggestions for further reading for young inquiring minds.
Readers are likely to view their world more carefully after learning of the important role decomposition plays in the cycle of life. (Nonfiction. 8-11)