Ick! and Nerp! Two gross, great books

 Today I've got to tell you about two gross, great books.


I first got to know Melissa Stewart's name in 2013, when I was reading massive amounts of juvenile non-fiction for the Cybils book award. (It didn't hurt that we have almost the same name. We're not related, that I know of!) She is a superstar of non-fiction for kids. I went over to her website to see how many books she's written . . . and I still don't have an answer for you because they're divided into categories and subcategories and it was too many to count!

Anyway, when I saw that top-notch author Melissa Stewart had paired with the top-notch photography and design people at National Geographic Kids, I was very interested. I requested a review copy of Ick! and I don't regret it. 

When the book arrived, my kids pored over it, and read out loads of disgusting facts for each other and me. "Mom, did you know about dung beetles?!" It was a big hit with my three oldest kids ages 12, 9, and 7. This isn't the sort of book that you have to read back to front. Each page focuses on one disgusting thing about an animal, and has a few sections on it: the main text, some stats, a couple of cool facts, and an "extra ick." The book is divided into three sections, one each for the gross things animals eat, their gross dwellings, and the gross ways they scare off predators.

Benjamin (12) knew right off the bat that the horned lizard would be in the book, and he was excited to find that page, then find equally icky facts about other animals. 

Of one of the pages Jubilee (7) said, "That's Ick. That's literally the title. Ick." 

Of the whole book Levi (9) said, "I like it. And it's disgusting." This is Levi's face, as Benjamin reads him an icky fact.

As for me, I like it, too. I learned many cool facts and already knew about dung beetles. I didn't get grossed out until I read about the tongue-eating louse. But I'll not spoil you on that one. 

Thumbs up for this one! There's a lot to learn from it, it's well written and designed, and has some truly horrifying and amazing photos. 

Nerp! by Sarah Lynne Reul

As far as disgusting goes, Nerp! is on the cute side of gross. It's a story of a little monster who doesn't want to eat any of the delicious foods his parents serve him. And his monster pet isn't interested in his own food. If you've ever had a toddler and a pet at the same time, this book is gonna speak right to your reality. 

The text is written in nonsense words: "Nerp!" is what our little monster says instead of "Nope!" And the nonsense titles of all the gourmet dishes that are served to him are sometimes disgusting and sometimes delightful. My kids had no trouble following the nonsense, and they had a great time talking about which dishes they would actually want to try. The book does have a little bit of an ick factor. For Jubilee, contemplating the book's ending gave her a tummy ache! It just gave the rest of us the giggles.

I absolutely adore the illustrations of this book. The emotions on every monster's face in each page are just spot on. I think the style might be considered collage? Sarah Lynne Reul built a miniature set and photographed it, then drew the characters and foods on top. The effect of the art is somewhere between real and make-believe, and the story is somewhere between "ick" and "aww."  

Recommended! I requested a review copy of this one because I loved Sarah Lynne Reul's The Breaking News which I bought at KidLitCon. Now I've got more to love. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...