________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 17. . . .January 7, 2011

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Bloodsucking Lice and Fleas. (Creepy Crawlies).

Ellen Rodger.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2011.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.) $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-2505-3 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-2498-8 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Lice-Juvenile literature.
Fleas-Juvenile literature.
Lice as carriers of disease-Juvenile literature.
Fleas as carriers of disease-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3 6 / Ages 8 12.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4

 
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Buzz Off Flies! (Creepy Crawlies).

Rachel Eagen.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2011.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.) $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-2506-0 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-2499-5 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Flies-Juvenile literature.
Flies as carriers of disease-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3 6 / Ages 8 12.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4

 
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Feasting Bedbugs, Mites and Ticks. (Creepy Crawlies).

Carrie Gleason.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2011.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.) $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-2507-7 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-2500-8 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Bedbugs-Juvenile literature.
Mites-Juvenile literature.
Ticks-Juvenile literature.
Mites as carriers of disease-Juvenile literature.
Ticks as carriers of disease-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3 6 / Ages 8 12.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4

 
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Rats Around Us. (Creepy Crawlies).

Rachel Eagen.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2011.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.) $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-2508-4 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-2501-5 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Rats-Juvenile literature.
Rats as carriers of disease-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3 6 / Ages 8 12.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4

 
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Scurrying Cockroaches. (Creepy Crawlies).

Jon Eben Field.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2011.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.) $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-2509-1 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-2502-2 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Cockroaches-Juvenile literature.
Cockroaches as carriers of disease-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3 6 / Ages 8 12.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4

 
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Termites and Other Home Wreckers. (Creepy Crawlies).

Marguerite Rodger.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2011.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.) $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-2510-7 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-2503-9 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Termites-Juvenile literature.
Wood borers-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3 6 / Ages 8 12.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4

excerpt:

Touch Me And I Will Explode

Some carpenter ant and termite species shower predators with guts when threatened! This ability to burst at will is called autothysis. Autothysis occurs when an animal's internal organs explode, causing their skin to split. Termite soldiers sometimes explode when their colonies are under attack. Their guts then block the tunnels leading to their nests, which protects the queen, the nymphs, and the workers. When this explosion occurs, the termites often also squirt out a sticky, glue like paste at their enemies. ( From Termites and Other Home Wreckers.)

Spoiler warning: If you are even a tiny bit squeamish, these books may make your skin crawl and your stomach turn. Not for the faint of heart, but definitely for the Grade 3 to 6 fans of Grossology and other like books.

     The "Creepy Crawlies" series features Bloodsucking Lice and Fleas, Buzz off, Flies!, Feasting Bedbugs, Mites, and Ticks, Rats Around Us, Scurrying Cockroaches, and Termites and Other Home Wreckers, and enough unnerving facts to send this book reviewer creeping and crawling under the covers. Oops, that's where the bedbugs bite. Yikes. No escape.

     Although written by different authors, the books follow a similar format. The content includes Creepy Stuff, a summary of the creature's role in history, an explanation of taxonomy, details of anatomy, life cycle, predators and prey, and a list of additional resources with the most motivating title I've come across. Who could resist checking out a section called "Pest Detective"?

     Each book also includes a table of contents, glossary, and a short index.

     Bloodsucking Lice and Fleas starts off with an attention getting chapter titled "The Cooties" complete with a picture of a very alarmed looking little girl scratching her head with both hands. Whether you want to know about pubic lice, flea circuses, or flea markets, this book is likely to leave you feeling lousy (sorry, couldn't resist).

     Buzz off, Flies! provides more information that most people will ever want to know about flies. In addition to their role in spreading disease, flies are acknowledged in this book as "one of the world's most important insects" for theirs role in breaking down decaying waste and as pollinators.

    Feasting Bedbugs, Mites, and Ticks includes a Crawly Fact box that told me exactly what my reaction was to reading these books. Who knew I had "delusional parasitosis" the unfounded fear of bugs feeding off me? If I just had "an irrational fear of bugs or insects," I would have "entomophobia." The first step to recovery is admitting that I have it.

    Rats Around Us takes a look at one of the animals that people either love or hate. Their role in spreading disease, including the bubonic plague, makes them a pest, but they are also valued for their role as a research lab animal in the search to find cures for a number of human diseases. Rats are not uncommon as pets in school classrooms. If you have a pet rat, you may want to check out one of the resources listed in this book www.theagilerat.com where you can even order a tiny Santa suit with a ringing bell on the hat. I'm not making this up.

    Scurrying Cockroaches includes the truly awe inspiring fact that "cockroaches have been living on Earth virtually unchanged for 300 million years." They are amazing survivors, but you have to wonder why they have never been voted off the island. This book explains the difference between cockroaches in the wild that play an important role by eating decaying plant matter, and pest cockroaches that invade our homes.

    Termites and Other Home Wreckers, the last title in this series, looks at the good, the bad and the ugly in this group of destructive insects. On the good side, carpenter ants and termites play in important role in maintaining forests by helping to decompose wood and turn it into compost for plants. On the other hand, the book claims that "termites wreck more homes than hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes combined!" There is no reference given to verify this 'fact,' but it does sound impressive.

    While I haven't quite recovered from my delusional parasitosis, I can't wait to share these books with some young people who, I know, are going to love to read me all of the best bits or is that bites?

Highly Recommended.

Suzanne Pierson is a retired teacher librarian, currently instructing Librarianship courses at Queen's University in Kingston, ON..

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to mailto:cm@umanitoba.ca?subject=CM.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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