Wednesday, October 6, 2010

6. Danger!

Written by Laura Bueler, Susan Kennedy,
Jim Pipe and Richard Walker
$19.99, ages 10-17, 192 pages

Get ready to feel your jaw tighten at the horror of it all.

In this terrifying, tantalizing tome, a team of writers has come up with every scary thing you almost wish you didn't want to know.

The book begins with "Nature's Nasties," all those creepy things that may be lurking nearby, or somewhere in the tropics, or somewhere in the deep sea, or somewhere inside of you.

The first thing you see is a "Wanted" poster in sepia tone with the most dangerous critters on the planet, beginning with the mosquito, the greatest host malaria has ever known, to the King Cobra, who can take down an elephant in one bite.

In a shark-feasting diagram that follows, the team explores whether sharks are really the serial killers of the ocean we make them out to be or just poor, misunderstood fellows with a taste for human flesh (and a side of krill).

Next comes a gruesomely funny comic of guy trying to escape the clutches of a grey white shark. Ah ha! Rodney's poked the shark in the eye. But watch out, Rodney, he's darting up from behind!

Oh, no! There's red stuff oozing off your arm, Rodney. Will you meet your doom or have a cool scar to show the guys?

On another page, eight cuddly looking creatures bat their eyes at readers, while below authors reveal their wicked secrets.

Did you know that koala bears, with those cute tufted ears and velvety fur, have razor-sharp claws they're not afraid to use? Or that flipper sometimes hunts down porpoises for no good reason?

And that's only part of chapter 1!

Other chapters explore the dangerous landscapes of Earth, spooky things that can happen in outer space, strange experiments that go horribly wrong, the horrors of the human body, killer careers and culture, and perilous truths from the past.

Every topic is illustrated with eye-popping graphics that are rarely like others in the book.

On one page about the dangers of space travel, you see a game board laid out with 36 spaces and as you roll the dice you discover which horrible end you'll face, or luck out and land on a near-miss. 

Perhaps it will be the Apollo 1 disaster in 1967; the module burst into flames during a run-through, some speculate from a spark created by an astronaut's jumpsuit rubbing against a seat.

Or maybe you land on "Lucky Escape," which tells the story of Gus Grissom, the second man in space in 1961. He nearly drowned when his Mercury capsule sunk into the ocean and his space suit filled with water.

Another spread shows an airport station with human-size bacteria waiting to jumping on a body that walks by.

Get a look at this guy: an African eye worm that wants to hitch a ride on a fly, then be injected into the human blood stream so it can wiggle around in the person's eye.


My favorites: a spread showing what it would be like to dine with Halloween ghouls and another about nighttime terrors, all those creepy things we conjure up in our mind while we're asleep.

Do these sound familiar? A dream that your teeth are crumbling out into a pile on the floor? Or that a building is collapsing all around you? Or you feel the hot breath of a monster hunting you down?

If your child has a fascination with the macabre, this is the volume to have. Hey, there's even a diagram about how to survive a horror movie! (Maybe it's also applicable to getting through a danger book?)

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