Rating: 4 1/2 stars
“Why Dogs Eat Poop: Gross But True Things You Never Knew About Animals” by Francesca Gould and David Haviland is a nonfiction book for middle grade readers that will fascinate kids with its detailed and, at times, really gross information about animals that do disgusting things.
The Contents reads both alliteratively and fairly benignly. Amazing Animals, Peculiar Parents, Crafty Creatures, Mind-Boggling Biology, Vicious Varmints, Weird Wonders, Eye Can See You and Extra-Disgusting Details. But delve deeper and the mini-chapters ask questions like “Which Bird Drinks Blood?” (Hint: it’s not the vampire bird, it’s the vampire finch.)
“Can Ants Be Farmers?” is another section and describes how ants care for aphids and milk them in much the same way farmers milk their cows.
One touching section is entitled “Which Animals Make the Best Parents?” The answer is the Orca, also known as the killer whale. Killer whales stay with their family groups for life. The author writes, “Astonishingly, after 25 years of intensive research, watching killer whales in coastal waters of the northeastern Pacific Ocean, researchers have not observed one single incidence of a killer whale ever leaving its mother.” This is sad when thinking of “Blackfish,” the documentary slamming SeaWorld and their captive orcas. The orcas are taken from the wild and kept in small tanks where they will never swim in the wild again nor see their family.
“How Does a Snake Swallow an Antelope?” is yet another kind-of-gross, kind-of-fascinating section in this book that kids will read and then loan to their friends.
This book is a great tool to get kids hooked on nonfiction reading.
Please note: This review is based on the final paperback book provided by the publisher, William Morrow, for review purposes.