Book Hook: The Yuck Factor
Today’s book hook is all about the “Ick Factor.” The information and illustrations that make readers say “oh, gross” and “yuck” and then keep reading!
Because nature gives us so many “yucky” things that people like to take pictures of, the list skews more toward illustrated nonfiction, though not exclusively. There are a few fictional and informational titles, but we purposefully stayed away from horror.
All of the nonfiction titles are illustrated and are laid out in a way that readers can thumb through the book, find a photo of interest, and then read a little before looking for the next thing that catches their eye. Even if they aren’t reading the whole page, they are spending time with a book, and that’s a victory.
BUGS FOR LUNCH
by Margery Facklam, illustrated by Sylvia Long
Rhyme introduces readers to creatures who dine on insects. Some they may know, others (like humans) will definitely get a “gross” or two.
I ATE A CICADA TODAY
written and illustrated by Jeff Crossan
The cover and title are sure to grab the most picky reader. Creatures great and small take center stage in poems that will make kids giggle, guffaw, and say ‘oh, yuck.”
INSIDE THE SLIDY DINER
by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Jaime Zollars
This has a Halloween-year-round feel to it, with an ick-factor that parents will relate to in ways kids can’t (since we don’t usually take them to greasy spoons). The illustrations are fabulous. You’ll want to spend time just exploring the pictures because there is plenty going on that isn’t covered in the verse itself.
written and illustrated by Sarah Lynne Reul
Frizzle frazzled, Mushy gushy Bloobarsh, and Picklefishy verp. The foods sound and look gross, but the drawings are cute.
by Vivian French, illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg
This book is both funny and informative. Yes, worms may appear to be “yucky” but they are also very important and serve a real purpose.
RIPLEY’S BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (RBI)
by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Publishing
This is an 8-book mystery/adventure series. The RBI is a group of 8 specially-chosen students who use their skills to investigate unusual stories to determine if they are factual. The team travels the world and in each book they are trying to determine the truth about unusual and eerie phenomena.
DONNER DINNER PARTY (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales)
written and illustrated by Nathan Hale
Yes, these are those Donner family members. This is a book for kids who like – or aren’t turned away from – squeamish topics. The author does a good job in conveying the reasons for cannibalism, but it doesn’t make the idea any less comfortable to process.
THE HUMAN BODY AT A GLANCE
by Christina Paraboni, illustrated by Giulia De Amicis
An excellent choice for introducing human biology to upper-elementary children. The book takes a scientific approach and walks right past the “yuck” and the “voyeuristic” factors kids love to bring to anatomy discussions.
MICRO MONSTERS: EXTREME ENCOUNTERS WITH INVISIBLE ARMIES
by Nam Nguyen
Microphotography magnifies bizarre critters like dust mites, ticks, Army ants, weevils, and head louse to give readers a real, close-up image of each subject. The accompanying text contains facts and a smattering of information about each creature.
I FEEL BETTER WITH A FROG IN MY THROAT: HISTORY’S STRANGEST CURES
by Carlyn Beccia
Excerpted publisher summary: People tried all sorts of things to help themselves and others feel better. From drinking a glass of millipedes to putting mustard on your head. Some cures worked, some didn’t, and others have a basis in the medicine we practice today.
See also: MONSTROUS: THE LORE, GORE, AND SCIENCE BEHIND YOUR FAVORITE MONSTERS
RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT! (Annual Edition)
by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Publishing
Ripley’s is the master of culling together the most unique, outrageous facts. They publish an annual edition, each with its own subtitle. These titles, designed to draw a reader’s eye, “dare” them to open the book: Unluck the Weird! Beyond the Bizarre! Eye-popping Oddities! Enter If You Dare! Mind Blown! among many others.
WICKED BUGS: THE MEANEST, DEADLIEST, GROSSEST BUGS ON EARTH (Young Reader’s Edition)
by Amy Stewart, illustrated by Briony Morrow-Cribbs
If you are squeamish about bugs and diseases, this is NOT your book. Short chapters, “cute” illustrations, and section headings like “Serious Pains” and “Unwelcome Invaders” give readers plenty to explore.
CHASING LINCOLN’S KILLER: THE SEARCH FOR JOHN WILKES BOOTH
by James L. Swanson
This exceptional illustrated nonfiction history creates plenty of suspense and is sure to thrill and teach all at the same time. It includes a rather detailed account of Lincoln’s death and that can be a bit gruesome for some readers.
See also: “THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN SHOT!”: THE ASSASSINATION OF JOHN F. KENNEDY
GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS
by Guinness World Records Publishing
What is fascinating to one person is extremely dangerous to someone else. Within the pages of each annual compendium, readers are transported to places and events of the bizarre, outrageous, weirdest, and yes, grossest endeavors all over the globe – and beyond!
STIFF: THE CURIOUS LIVES OF HUMAN CADAVERS
by Mary Roach
The author reveals different and curious things about dead bodies and what happens to them, all with a hilarious twist of humor. The author covers the grim subjects of death and corpses in the best way possible. It isn’t just doctors who work with dead bodies. This is a book that kids can use to explore different professions in the science field.