Monday, March 23, 2009

Nonfiction Monday: What's eating you? Parasites - the inside story

Kids love gross, disgusting things. How often do they looked at those 28 foot long fingernails in the Guinness Book of World Records? Gross! But, here’s a book that will provide solid scientific information as well as plenty of facts to make your skin crawl.
What’s eating you? Parasites – the inside story.
by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Neal Layton
MA: Candlewick Press, 2007. 61 p.
ages 8 – 12
Clearly based in scientific facts and lots of good humor, Nicola Davies' What's Eating You? will provide hours of fun for young readers curious about the secret lives of parasites. Slimy frogs, hairy dogs, tough sharks, even people have parasites living on their skin and inside their bodies. Davies uses a conversational style, paired with Layton’s funny, cartoon-like drawings, to introduce the reader to real scientific terms and ideas. Parasites’ adaptability to their environment is crucial for their survival. Many have creative (and disgusting) ways to get inside their host's body.
"Hookworm eggs are squeezed out with their host's poop, but because humans don't eat their own poop (some animals do - rabbits, for instance!), hookworms need some other route into a new body. So ... the eggs hatch into baby hookworms tiny enough to wiggle between human skin cells, and in places where poop can be stepped into by people, they get into the blood and then back to the gut - where they grow up and start feeding."
Did you know that a tapeworm inside a human intestine can grow to 60 feet long?! “They don’t need a mouth or a gut of their own, because they just float around in your digested food and soak it up through their skin.” Eeww!! But what 10 year old won’t love telling this at the dinner table? Davies writes in a funny and engaging way; she shares information in bite-sized pieces, perfect for reluctant readers who need to be drawn into a book. The writing style reminded me somewhat of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid style, in its informal approach – but this has much more content. Have fun – but be prepared for some disgusting dinner conversations!

Find it at the Oakland Public Library or the Berkeley Public Library.

For more Nonfiction-Monday delights, head over to MotherReader.


  1. My niece just got over a lice thing, and I was glad to be offering advice from a distance. A long distance. Ick.

  2. ewwww! I just noticed you changed your site name.