Fertile fodder for fans of faux fearful freakouts.
The latest in a largely interchangeable series with nearly identical titles (100 Deadliest Things on the Planet, 2012; 100 Most Awesome Things on the Planet, 2011; etc.), this gallery of creepy creatures offers unapologetically sensationalized content. Small portrait photos, five per spread, are matched to names, size ranges, two pithy descriptive notes and “scariness ratings” on a scale of one to five shark teeth. Along with, no surprise, 10 types of shark, the entries include a variety of biting insects and parasitic worms, poison frogs, snakes, carnivorous mammals on land and in the sea, deadly birds (a cassowary “[k]icks hard enough to tear an animal open or rip through a car door”), poisonous jellyfish and killer spiders. No need to fear, writes the author, “most” of these animals will leave you alone if not bothered, and “most” of their bites or stings have medical treatments. Browsers seeking self-inflicted terror or disgust will find in the small but rousing pictures a wide range of open maws and jagged teeth—but (with rare exceptions like the guinea worm being pulled from a sore) nothing seriously gruesome or disturbing.
Choruses of delighted “Eeewww”s guaranteed, as well as exposure to such important scientific terms as “mustelid” and “parasite.” (“Top 100” countdown, index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)