Some children will dig in, but most will leave it unfinished.

GET THE SCOOP ON ANIMAL PUKE

FROM ZOMBIE ANTS TO VAMPIRE BATS, 251 COOL FACTS ABOUT VOMIT, REGURGITATION, & MORE!

The prominent cover image of a bulldog with a pool of puke at its feet will cause kids with a gag reflex to retch, while those into the gross will chortle with glee.

Unfortunately even the latter category will find this, a companion to Get the Scoop on Animal Poop (2012), to be an unsatisfactory stew. The table of contents seems to indicate a careful assemblage of digestible facts including “Toxic Puke Defense,” “Indigestible Puke,” “Baby Pukers” and so on. However, some comments seem incomplete or misleading, starting with one in the introduction: “You may think of puking as a bad thing: it makes your stomach hurt and smells gross. In the animal world, though, vomiting helps animals in many ways.” This seems to suggest that there is a difference between humans and animals and that humans do not benefit from vomiting, yet the reasons we do are covered in a later chapter. “Puke Defense” states that some animals defend themselves and their young with vomit. Cool, but inquisitive readers will not find a definite explanation: Do they spew on predators as a weapon or on themselves to become unsavory? “Cud Pukers” introduces the concept of a four-chamber stomach, yet the role of the second chamber is not covered, nor are chambers labeled on the diagram.

Some children will dig in, but most will leave it unfinished. (glossary, research source notes, further reading, indexes) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62354-045-6

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Imagine Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SHARKS AND OTHER UNDERWATER CREATURES!

In the wake of Everything Awesome About Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Beasts! (2019), Lowery spins out likewise frothy arrays of facts and observations about sharks, whales, giant squid, and smaller but no less extreme (or at least extremely interesting) sea life.

He provides plenty of value-added features, from overviews of oceanic zones and environments to jokes, drawing instructions, and portrait galleries suitable for copying or review. While not one to pass up any opportunity to, for instance, characterize ambergris as “whale vomit perfume” or the clownfish’s protective coating as “snot armor,” he also systematically introduces members of each of the eight orders of sharks, devotes most of a page to the shark’s electroreceptive ampullae of Lorenzini, and even sheds light on the unobvious differences between jellyfish and the Portuguese man-of-war or the reason why the blue octopus is said to have “arms” rather than “tentacles.” He also argues persuasively that sharks have gotten a bad rap (claiming that more people are killed each year by…vending machines) and closes with pleas to be concerned about plastic waste, to get involved in conservation efforts, and (cannily) to get out and explore our planet because (quoting Jacques-Yves Cousteau) “People protect what they love.” Human figures, some with brown skin, pop up occasionally to comment in the saturated color illustrations. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 45% of actual size.)

An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans. (bibliography, list of organizations) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35973-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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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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