Tiny Monsters: The Strange Creatures that Live On Us, In Us, and Around Us

The husband-and-wife writing team that brought young readers the Caldecott Honor book What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? delves into the creepy crawly world of arthropods (specifically insects, mites and spiders) in the fascinating Tiny Monsters. Steve Jenkins and Robin Page explore how these minute critters co-exist in our environment using fun facts, bold illustrations and size comparisons to drive home the minuscule stature of their subjects.

Some of the tiny monsters live outdoors, like the South American jumping ant that "has the largest eyes of any ant relative to its body size"; others can be found in human homes, like the dust mite. Some creatures, such as the harmless eyelash mite, exist on humans; yet more live in humans, like the pork tapeworm, which "feeds by attaching itself to the intestines of its host... [and] can cause serious health problems."

Jenkins and Page keep their audience riveted with shiver- and itch-inducing pages and fascinating trivia: the tardigrade "can live for 30 years without eating or drinking"; the marine scale worm lives near "volcanic vents on the sea floor." Meanwhile, the cut- and torn-paper collage illustrations highlight creatures that, when enlarged to a visible size, are more intriguing than sinister--the wonderful detail simply demands a thorough and close inspection. Jenkins and Page erase a lot of the creepy from this crawly world by helping their audience to understand the little critters with whom coexistence is a fact of life. With a bibliography and "more tiny monster facts" included at book's end, readers may never look at their surroundings the in the same way again. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

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