Scorpions: Armored Stingers by Sandra Markle is part of the Arachnid World series. This book gives an overview of scorpion biology as well as compares scorpions to other arachnids.
Why am I reviewing it? First of all, because it has been nominated for a Cybils award in the MG/YA nonfiction category. Secondly, here in the Sonoran Desert region of Arizona we have quite a few different kinds of scorpions. Many people who move to the area have questions about scorpions and often when people don’t have facts they create stories or myths to fill in for what they don’t know. Scorpions goes a long way to dispel the myths.
Sandra Markle often uses a technique she calls “faction,” where she develops a character and uses fiction-style techniques in her nonfiction books. Her Hip-Pocket Papa is an example. In this book and others in the Arachnid World series, however, she uses a more traditional nonfiction format.
Most of the pages contain a “Scorpion Fact” in a short sidebar, such as what happens if a scorpling (young scorpion) loses a leg. This captures the interest of a young reader thumbing through the book. Soon he or she is reading the text to find out more.
I always appreciate books with hands-on activities to reinforce learning. Markle has included an activity in the back matter to investigate a human’s sense of touch as it compares to the senses of a scorpion.
Cybils Notes: The photographs in this book are rather blah, although I do recognize that photographing a creature with a painful sting is not always an easy task. On page 21 it is implied that a scorpion’s stinger will keep a meerkat from eating it. In fact meerkats regularly eat scorpions and are quite adept at avoiding the stingers.
You might not think much about scorpions if none are found where you live. If scorpions are a part of your environment, however, having a book like this is helpful for understanding them. Recommended for budding arachnologists or to accompany a unit on arachnids.
Review of another book in this series:
Orb Weavers: Hungry Spinners by Sandra Markle
Reading level: Ages 9-12
School & Library Binding: 48 pages
Publisher: Lerner Pub Group (T) (March 2011)
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