Mini-dossiers on 13 of the natural world’s thieves, tricksters, and other felons.
Tekavec’s criminals are wanted for infractions that include dangling a light in dark waters to draw unwary prey (anglerfish, aka “Ms. Jagged Jaws”), shooting a prospective mate with “a dart full of love hormones” (Roman snail, aka “Lil’ Cupid”), slipping an egg into another bird’s nest (common cuckoo, aka “Big Bad Mama”), or bullying rivals into sterility (naked mole rat queen, aka “Queenie the Meanie”). These and other bad actors are profiled with an M.O., a cartoon mug shot, and a fact-filled rap sheet. The author may stretch the premise a bit by including the wood frog, whose only misfeasance is spending winters as a frozen “Frogsicle,” and “Slippery Slick” the llama for leaving “spit-covered tourists at the ruins of Machu Picchu,” but the comical grimaces or expressions of popeyed dismay on Batori’s wild creatures give the whole rogues’ gallery a lighthearted, all-in-fun air. Kids will love learning about such revolting behaviors as antlion larvae’s pre-consumption digestion of their food. The author’s closing tally of animal commandments (“#3 All mothers are responsible for their own eggs”) serves as an artful recap/pop quiz to boot. Kids who find the likes of Jim Arnosky’s Tooth & Claw (2014) or Steve Jenkins’ Apex Predators (2017) a bit too, um, toothy are well served here.
A pleaser for younger naturalists. (Informational picture book. 6-9)