Monday, April 20, 2015

Nonfiction Monday: Mutant Animals: Crazy Creatures Altered by Science by Sally Lee

This is a gross book. I'm just gonna lay it out there. I successfully put at least two people off their food by describing it during breakfast.

Six brief chapters (2-4 pages each) address a number of different science experiments performed on animals. These include cats who glow in the dark, dogs with second heads grafted on, goats with DNA altered to create silk-like proteins in their milk, pigs with genes altered to make their poop more environmentally safe, growth hormones in salmon, breeding species like Beefalo and Zorse, and cloned animals.

A glossary is included in each chapter, defining 2-3 words every few pages. Facts and captions are also included in the text. All of the glossary words are collected at the back and there are three titles suggested for further reading and a link to the publisher's website to find websites related to the book. There is also a brief index.

This is part of a "Scary Science" series, which is a sub-set of the larger Fact Finders series. The books are aimed at a roughly grades 3-4, although other review sources suggest it for ages 9 to 11. The book is formatted like an 8x8 picture book and heavily sprinkled with provocative and gross photos. The main thing that bothered me was the only mention of any controversy over the animal experiments featured was a small caption mentioning that some people had ethical concerns over cloning.

Verdict: This is available either in paperback ($5) or library binding ($20). It's very light on sources and is obviously aimed to shock and titillate. That's not necessarily a bad thing, and it would probably circulate well and might get some kids interested in pursuing the subject further, but it's not what I'm looking for to improve my nonfiction collection right now in the area of science. Also, the layout would be a hard sell. Kids old enough for the content are going to be reluctant to pick up a book that looks like a picture book or easy reader.

ISBN: 9781476539294; Published 2014 by Capstone; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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