Monday, January 04, 2010

Nonfiction Monday - Davies and Layton

I think Nicola Davies is a genius. She has the knack for writing about science in a clever, highly engaging manner. Pair her text with the quirky and humorous illustrations of Neal Layton and you have a match made in heaven. Don't know who Nicola Davies and Neal Layton are? Then get thee to the library immediately and check out the series of oblong volumes filled with some of the most interesting science around.

Poop: A Natural History of the Unmentionable (2004) - In this very smart book, Davies explains what poop is, why it's brown, where it goes, how different animals use poop, and much more. Lest you think me crazy, this one was a 2004 BCCB blue ribbon winner.

Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth (2006) - This one begins, "We humans are such a bunch of wimps!-we can't live without food, or water, and just a few minutes without air is enough to finish us off. Luckily, not all life is so fragile." What follows is a look at the ways in which animals survive in some of the most inhospitable places on Earth. The animals in this volume are found everywhere--in the depths of the ocean, scorching deserts, active volcanoes, and more challenging environments.

What’s Eating You?: Parasites–The Inside Story (2007) - Every living thing has a habitat where it finds food and shelter and reproduces, but some organisms make their homes on other living things, including humans. By the way, did you know that there are more than 430 types of parasites that can live on humans? This creepily entertaining book let’s us in on the secret lives of parasites. Prepare yourself to be grossed out and fascinated with every disgusting detail.

Just the Right Size: Why Big Animals Are Big and Little Animals Are Little (2009) - Just what is the BTLT rule? It's the rule that explains why some animals are large and others are small. It also explains why geckos can crawl on the ceiling, rhinoceros beetles can carry 850x their weight, and water striders can walk on water when humans can't perform any of these feats. Davies takes a complex mathematical idea ("If you double the length of something, its surface area and cross section go up four times, while its volume and weight go up EIGHT times!") and applies it to the world of living things, providing numerous concrete examples. Once you read this one you'll never worry about giant spiders again. (Take that Aragog!)

This post was written for Nonfiction Monday. The round up is being hosted by Anastasia Suen at Picture Book of the Day. Do take some time to check out all the great posts highlighting nonfiction this week.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for these recommendations! I loved What's Eating You?, in a gross, creepy, couldn't-put-it-down sort of way. The 4th grade students at my school ate it up (ha, ha, ha!).

    But I didn't know that they used a similar style for other books. I just put a hold on Poop at my local public library - all 4 copies are checked out, which is a pretty huge thumbs up! thanks so much for highlighting these!