Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill

illus. by Kevin O'Malley. 256p. bibliog. further reading. index. websites. Bloomsbury. Oct. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781681199009.
OrangeReviewStarGr 4–8—In the same irreverent but well-researched style in Georgia Bragg's How They Croaked, this title offers readers an amusing, thorough overview of dead animals. What most are pleased to leave behind in their rearview mirror as they speed by, scientists appreciate for the data that can be found in these bodies. Readers will be fascinated as Montgomery recounts her adventures discovering how roadkill offers the world information, such as how pentastomes (parasitic crustaceans) are invading the snakes of Florida, thanks to boa constrictors released into the Everglades, and what these parasites mean to the ecosystem. With wry humor, gory detail, and great enthusiasm, the author explains how this mystery, and others, are being solved thanks to civilian scientists who pick up and/or report roadkill sightings to science centers. And then there is taxidermy, the art of turning dead critters into 3-D sculptures for museums or for art. As Montgomery warns at the start, this book is not for the faint of heart ("It's full of lung-eating parasites ropes of intestines, and, of course, bloody bodies."), but be prepared to laugh along the way (chapter six: "Please Pass the Salt") and to learn a lot.
VERDICT Sure to be a hit among students. A top addition to STEM collections.

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