What makes an animal gross?
In their latest entry in their World of Weird Animals series, Keating and DeGrand present 17 more curious creatures, this time animals that may inspire disgust. The Canadian-based zoologist-turned-author has found repulsive examples from around the world. These include slime-covered sea-dwellers, farting fish, gulls who projectile-vomit, even a Spanish newt that can extend its barbed ribs out through its poisonous skin. Zombie worms from ocean depths, tree frogs (who occasionally turn up in Australian toilets), and burrowing South American caecilians will likely be unfamiliar; common housefly larvae (maggots), Siberian chipmunks, and slobbery giraffes have surprisingly unsavory aspects. Poop protects a Marabou stork’s legs and provides meals for dung beetles. Mucus protects snot otters and parrotfish. Fully-formed toadlets hatch from a Surinam toad mother’s back. This title follows the pattern of previous ones: Spread by garishly colored spread, readers are introduced to weird and wonderful creatures with a photograph, two short paragraphs of intriguing information, and fast facts: common and Latin names, size, diet, habitat, and predators and threats. Words and phrases that may not be familiar (think “chytridiomycosis,” “cutaneous respiration,” “eviscerate,” “ocean acidification,” and “pharyngeal teeth”) are bolded in the text and defined in a glossary. Cartoon illustrations and a lively design complete the package. With no index or page numbers, this is fact-full but best for browsing.
Book-bait for middle-grade readers that oozes eww appeal. (Informational picture book. 7-11)