In the wake of Animals That Make Me Say Wow! and …Ouch! (both 2014), Cusick has nothing to offer but blood, sweat—and spit, mucus, poop, boogers (sorry, “nasal detritus”), mud, pee, musk, and puke.
Viewers hoping for titillation on every page aren’t going to get it, though there are enough close-ups of barfing birds, poop-slinging hippos, and nose-picking primates to justify the title. Nonetheless, most of the many big, bright photos portray animals more-conventionally posed in natural settings and engaging in less overtly disgusting behaviors. The author likewise tones down her theme by focusing not on the revolting details but on the reasons why, for instance, snakes shed their skins, rhinos and elephants eat their feces, and some “mammal moms” lick the bottoms of their offspring. Four online research “challenges” cap this broad if not deep survey of animal eating habits, offensive and defensive mechanisms, and sanitary practices.
A pleaser for budding zoologists, though those eager to meet the so-appealing hagfish or actually see a lizard squirting blood will have to look elsewhere. (index) (Nonfiction. 7-12)