Monday, January 29, 2018

Chomp! by Brady Barr

This collection of fascinating facts and interesting information from National Geographic packs a big bite. Brady Barr, a herpetologist, branches out and measures the bite force of a number of animals. The book is divided up into different types of bites - grippers, slicers, crushers, and gulpers. Each chapter includes spreads on a variety of animals including interesting facts about them, focusing especially on their bites and methods of feeding. The book also includes a number of narrow escapes experienced by Barr during his adventures and family portraits that cover a number of different species in crocodilians, sharks, and snakes.

The book is written in a brisk, racy style, interspersing exciting stories about being chased by hippos and bitten by turtles with eye-popping photos of animals, most with mouths looming wide! Kids will learn about the bite force of a shark, a human, a snake, and a hippo. How hard can an animal with no teeth bite? What happens if you get bitten by a real dragon? These and more questions are answered throughout the book.

National Geographic books are rarely a hard sell. Kids love the bite-sized pieces of information and the popular topics and exciting presentation make them sure winners, especially with reluctant readers. But parents and teachers are often looking for more cohesive narratives and challenging text. We could go into a discussion about expository vs. narrative here, but there isn't time and anyways Melissa Stewart has already covered this. But this book meets the desires of both with the interspersed narratives of the author, talking about his experiences, what he learned, and why he made these scientific (and sometimes dangerous) experiments.

Verdict: A popular topic with plenty of information and great examples of both narrative and expository nonfiction. Sure to fly off your shelves, this is available in both paperback and library bound.

ISBN: 9781426328398; Published 2017 by National Geographic; Review copy provided by publisher

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