Share this article

print logo

Kidbits: For the younger set


“Deadly! The Truth About the Most Dangerous Creatures on Earth” by Nicola Davies; illustrated by Neal Layton; Candlewick Press, $14.99.

Nicola Davies has a talent for making science interesting, and this short, informative book about how nature is one giant restaurant, with animals killing and eating each other, might be her most interesting book yet. There are chapters about snakes that spit poison, birds including peregrine falcons that dive on their prey at speeds up to 120 mph and the box jellyfish that might be the most toxic deadly creature on the planet. Other deadly creatures include the poison-arrow frogs of South America, bombardier beetles with their interesting toxic spray defense system. Scared of spiders? You might be interested to know that the Australian funnel-web spider has a poison that is 200 times more toxic than most rattlesnakes’ and that they often fall into swimming pools where they can survive underwater for 24 hours. The spider with the highest human death toll is the Brazilian wandering spider, as big as a person’s palm and fond of hiding in shoes.

Layton’s cartoon illustrations are hilarious although sometimes kind of gross. (In one chapter, a zebra instructing other zebras on the difference between a crocodile and a log gets grabbed by a crocodile and spun around in the “death roll,” while another zebra looks at the bloody water and says, “I guess that’s the end of today’s lesson.”) Other cartoons show a hiker eating a ham sandwich in bear country with two possible outcomes, the same hiker then taking a swim in shark-infested waters, with two possible outcomes.

– Jean Westmoore


The Theatre of Youth will present a book club event for kids ages 4 and older to discuss “Flat Stanley” from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday in Talking Leaves, 3158 Main St. Call 884-4400, Ext. 304, for required registration.


Did you ever wonder why the moon is pockmarked with craters? Falling asteroids and meteorites created thousands of craters on the moon’s surface. Unlike Earth, the moon does not have a protective atmosphere that destroys most meteors before they strike the ground.

– Time for Kids: Big Book of Why