Written by Ron Knapp
Load up a book with the ‘ouch’ facts, the ‘yech’facts, and the ‘oh yeah?’ facts. Do away with the blah. Add to that mix magnified photos of the bloodsucking creatures and you have an instant readership – second and third grade readers who delight in the icky and gross and awful.
The vampire bat on the cover looks like it is on its way to the next meal source – you. We learn that the only real vampires in the world are these tiny (three-inch long) vampire bats. Count Dracula with his red cape is a figment of our imagination.
The author’s description of the modus operandi of the mosquitoes, vampire bats, head lice, lampreys, fleas and leeches leaves one shaking one’s head in admiration. The mosquito has a heat and chemical sensing mechanism. Vampire bats curl their tongues into funnels so they do not miss a single drop of the blood they are busy sucking up. Head lice use their super-efficient claws to grasp a strand of hair, and tiny teeth to bite into the skin on the skull. Lampreys have “dental plates” – a tongue with teeth so sharp it can open a large wound. The flea has two tubes in its mouth — one to suck up the blood, the other to send saliva into the wound. The leech injects a painkilling substance so the victim does not feel anything.
The book ends on an optimistic note. Doctors are looking into the medicinal use of leeches and studying the chemical it releases to thin the blood. Maybe the new generation of readers will find more ways of interacting with these bloodsucking creatures to the benefit of all. Sure to entice reluctant readers; a good addition to any reading list.
Bloody Suckers: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/bloodysuckers/interview.html
Vampire bats video: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/animals/creaturefeature/vampire-bat/
How Mosquitoes Work: http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/zoology/insects-arachnids/mosquito.htm
- Title: Bloodsucking Creatures
- Author: Ron Knapp
- Publisher: Enslow Publishers, Inc.
- Reviewer: Anjali Amit
- Paperback: 48 pages
- ISBN: 978-1-59845-219-8
- Genre: Nonfiction/Science