Imagine, you are driving down the road, and like any other day you see a piece of roadkill lying there. But today is different than any other day, today you think.. oh.. I wonder, I wonder why that animal died, I wonder just how a snakes fangs work, so you pull off the road, pick up that dead snake and take it home with you. And thus a love of roadkill and all it can teach you is born. Learn of this fascination in Something Rotten, my latest review from Raincoast books.
Heather Montgomery walks us through the intriguing world that is roadkill, taking us through learning about parasites released Burmese pythons are giving to the native snake population (not a good thing), we learned about how red wolves might not actually be wolves but be a combination of coyote and wolf genetics, and how the Tasmanian devil is helping people.
Roadkill has never entered my radar of being a fascinating study until I read this book and then it was a like a whole new world opened up for me. The things to learn, the use that scientists can put them, and how they benefit the living, not only of their own species but in the lives of other living beings as well. It is simply amazing.
When you add up the amount of animals killed on the road it’s a staggering amount, then think of all the people involved in those kills and how some of them will be injured or lose their lives. Roadkill becomes a serious matter. It’s no small wonder that more and more animals bridges and underpasses are being built.
So what do you get?
Eleven chapters, 176 pages, text written with the middle schooler in mind, black and white images, and a fascinating look into the world of dead animals and scientists from around the world. She includes a section on steps people can take to save lives as well, which includes projects that people of all ages can take part in.
What did I think?
When I got the book I thought I would be bored out of my mind. 🙂 Like seriously ROAD KILL????? What in the world could be remotely interesting about roadkill? Then something good happened, I got hooked. Somewhere between learning how snakes fangs fold and coyotes I got hooked. I wanted to know what new and amazing thing she would discover next. Every time she turned a new corner I wanted to know more.
I was occasionally surprised like learning that throwing food out the window is a REALLY bad idea. It teaches animals to come to the road for food and while there, what do you think happens? Death to the animal and potential injury to other people. Do you want to be responsible for that? I don’t. I’ll save that apple core to toss at home eh? Won’t you? Another surprise was learning about a contagious cancer! Who would have thought!?!?!?! Totally surprised me.
Now this book is not for the faint of heart. If you are easily grossed out or can’t handle anatomical descriptions, it’s not the book for you. But if you have an inquiring mind and are fascinated by all things animal and don’t mind a bit of messiness (which by the by isn’t over the top but it is factual) this is an extremely interesting book. I’ll be adding it to the pile of books my lad will be reading, and guessing it won’t take him long to go through.
Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill
Heather L. Montgomery
Kevin O’Malley (illustrator)
176 pages, 10-14 years old, softcover, non-fiction
Roadkill, science, scientists, research, biology
Reviewed for Raincoast books.
Where to find Amazon