A clever, high-energy crowd pleaser well founded in facts—the grosser the better.

THE HOW AND WOW OF THE HUMAN BODY

FROM YOUR TONGUE TO YOUR TOES AND ALL THE GUTS IN BETWEEN

From the Wow in the World series

An effervescent tour of the preteen “walking, talking, barfing, breathing, pooping body of wow!

The hosts of NPR podcast Wow in the World lose none of their energy or comic timing in reeling off a highlights-style swing through pubescent anatomy from brain (“it’s what makes up your mind”) to butt. Though the section on the reproductive system is conspicuously sparse on specifics, care is taken to discuss the complexity of sexual identity, and a Let’s Play Puberty! board game features the appearance of “lumps” on throats and chests. Any readers yearning for poop on poop, not to mention boogers (and “eye boogers”), earwax, mucus, spit, intestinal gas, body odors, and blood, will be well served, though. The instructions for creating dental cavities and other dubious projects are justly labeled “Don’t try this at home!” Amid the laffs the authors deliver a solid load of accurate basic information about organs and body systems. Teagle follows suit with cartoon scenes of animated body parts and of the White authors with a racially diverse cast of other humans (some who use wheelchairs) all looking dismayed or excited and often associated with splatters of green gas or goo. Maris Wicks’ unsurpassed Human Body Theater (2015) caps a select but audience-friendly reading list at the end, next to a set of QR codes leading to relevant episodes of the podcast.

A clever, high-energy crowd pleaser well founded in facts—the grosser the better. (glossary, source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-30663-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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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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The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t...

HURRICANE HARVEY

DISASTER IN TEXAS AND BEYOND

The devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey is explained, from the storm’s origin to its ongoing aftermath, in this photo-heavy book.

In retelling the story of how a storm got so big it caused 82 deaths and billions of dollars in damage along the Texas coast, Minneapolis-based author Felix details the science of hurricanes for those unfamiliar and unpacks why this and a series of other hurricanes made for one of the most damaging weather years on record. Although it’s packed with info-boxes, a glossary, tips for safety during a hurricane and helping survivors afterward, a snapshot of five other historic hurricanes, and well-curated photos, it misses an opportunity to convey some of the emotion and pain victims endured and continue to feel. Instead, much of the text feels like a summation of news reports, an efficient attempt to answer the whys of Hurricane Harvey, with only a few direct quotations. Readers learn about Virgil Smith, a Dickinson, Texas, teen who rescued others from floodwaters with an air mattress, but the information is secondhand. The book does answer, clearly and concisely, questions a kid might have about a hurricane, such as what happens to animals at the zoo in such an emergency and how a tropical storm forms in the first place. A portion of the book’s proceeds are to be donated to the Texas Library Association’s Disaster Relief Fund.

The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t capture the fear and shock those who lived through the hurricane must have felt. (Nonfiction. 9-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2888-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2018

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