by Anita Sanchez ; illus by Gilbert Ford
96 pages; ages 7-10
HMH Books for Young Readers, 2019
theme: decomposers, ecology, nature
“It’s a rotten world,” writes Anita Sanchez. No matter where you look, from the backyard compost pile to the landfill – and even in the back of your fridge – things are decomposing. And that’s a good thing, because imagine what the world would be like if nothing broke down. Decomposed. Rotted away. What would happen to dead animals, orange peels, that pile of dog poop?
In this book we meet dung beetles –the little critters that especially love the dung of plant-eating animals. Turns out, dung beetles are major players in the battle against global warming.
We meet vulture and other scavengers that feed on the flesh of dead animals. Scavenging is a pretty good strategy because dead meals don’t fight back!
We meet the “fun guys” of the decomposer club, fungi. They excel at breaking down the tough bonds that hold molecules of wood together, Sanchez writes. They turn fallen logs into humus – crumbly dark soil perfect for growing new plants. We meet ants, termites, slugs and slime molds, and even take a field trip into our own homes to check out what’s rotten.
I love the way Sanchez makes rotten things sound like the most exciting stuff to look for! And her hands-on challenges: follow sandwich crusts and a “rot it yourself” test. And I really like the last chapter about Rotten People – and we’re not talking about scallywags, thieves, and politicians!
STEM Friday, where you can discover other cool STEM books. And Monday we'll be hanging out at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday with other bloggers. It's over at Greg Pattridge's blog, Always in the Middle, so hop over to see what other people are reading. Review copy provided by the publisher.