From School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-This humorous and fact-filled book is chock-full of fun. From ants to grizzly bears, from beetles to falcons, these poisonous and armed-and-dangerous creatures will delight young readers. With hilarity and information, the opening pages describe the HDR, or Human Deadliness Rating, of various creatures. The book is enhanced with full-page illustrations and cartoon panels that lighten the text and make the content less alarming. The descriptions of "the ways animals kill each other" are handled flawlessly for children. It's important to note that the book also addresses the crucial roles predators play in their various ecosystems, how humans are threatening some habitats, how some of the poisons are actually lifesaving, and how humans have a responsibility to keep all of these animals safe. The illustration-filled index and glossary add to the book's usefulness. Teachers and librarians looking to teach the Common Core Standards and expository writing will delight in this book and the dynamic way it will engage children.-Nancy Jo Lambert, Ruth Borchardt Elementary, Plano, TXα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Davies takes advantage of her zoological expertise to inform readers not only how certain animals have the potential to kill humans but also how they kill one another. Included are the expected animal baddies, such as wolves and sharks, but also the innocuous looking mantis shrimp and peregrine falcon. The most entertaining lethal adaptations are described in detail, including a bombardier beetle’s explosive backside and the poison arrow frog’s noxious skin. As expected, considering the topic, Layton’s wacky cartoon illustrations are a bit graphic. But they also elevate the text to a high-interest timbre, offering an irreverent wink that kids will find irresistible. While on the surface it is a book of animal facts and trivia, a coherent message is implied throughout—that although some animals may be scary or ferocious, ecosystems are built on interdependence, and conservation efforts must include all creatures in any given environment. Grades 2-4. --Erin Anderson