FICTION

Rotten!: Vultures, Beetles, Slime, and Nature's Other Decomposers

illus. by Gilbert Ford. 80p. bibliog. glossary. index. notes. HMH. Jan. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781328841650.
COPY ISBN
Gr 3–6—Rot in all its forms is on delightfully disgusting display in this introduction to decomposition. The text is mostly in the form of short standalone sections with intriguing titles like "How to Eat Dead Stuff" and "The Guacamole That Refused to Die." The tone is humorous and informal throughout, clearly relishing the gross-out factor of dead, moldy, or stinky things. Whimsical cartoon illustrations add to the silliness and make no attempt at scientific accuracy. Full-bleed illustrations and spot art depict such things as bespectacled worms grooving to a concert, a beetle cooking up a pot of dung, and a fly tucking its larvae under a blanket. A small number of activities are included (not to mention a faux scratch-and-sniff panel that makes a point about aerobic decomposition).
VERDICT Fun for pleasure reading and factual enough to satisfy science teachers, this title is recommended for anywhere young people take an interest in nature, compost, rot, and renewal.

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