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Zombie Makers: True Stories of Nature's Undead (Exceptional Science Titles for Intermediate Grades) (Junior Library Guild Selection) Library Binding – August 1, 2012

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Product Details

  • Lexile Measure: 800L (What's this?)
  • Series: Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Library Binding: 48 pages
  • Publisher: 21st Century (August 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761386335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761386339
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 10 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #453,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8-Ratchet up your ick-factor and practice your eeyuw's because Johnson's researched text will reveal enough details to cause squeamish (or highly imaginative) readers to quail. Hairworms that cause crickets to commit suicide; jewel wasps that turn cockroaches into walking pantries for their larvae; and a fungus that drives its ant host to find the perfect launch for its sporing body are just a few of the "zombie-makers" Johnson introduces. The readable text is based on telephone calls and emails with scientists in the field as well as the published articles listed in the bibliography. The author is careful to include a "Science Behind the Story" explanation for each of the featured parasites, quoting the research scientist whenever possible. Color photos reinforce the ickiness, as do splotches of red, green, and black creeping across the pages like patches of mold. Readers needing a more personal jolt may prefer Nicola Davies's more gentle (but still nicely gross) What's Eating You?: Parasites-The Inside Story (Candlewick, 2007) or Brian Ward's more prosaic Microscopic Life in the Home (Smart Apple Media, 2004). Scientific in its approach, this slender book gives children a look at scientific research in real time, and also shows how little we truly know in a less-than-lovely field.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NYα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Everyone knows zombies aren’t real, don’t they? After reading Johnson’s inventively imagined book, readers won’t be so sure. From a fungus to a hairworm, a guinea worm to a virus, and a flatworm to a parasite, there exists one commonality of these creatures’ assaults upon a host: the brain of the host is altered and, in most instances, commandeered. One might assume these exotic attackers are prevalent in far-flung locales, but that supposition is frighteningly false: many are found in North America. Text, graphics, photos, illustrations, and the use of bloodred in the general design combine to create this gross-but-I-can’t-put-it-down book. Each chapter follows the same format: introducing the organism (with quick facts in boxed inserts), discussing its life cycle and how it captures the host’s brain, and concluding with “The Science behind the Story.” And Johnson never lets up on the creatures’ similarities to zombies: “Zombie Trait #2: Obeys commands without question. Will even die trying.” Disgustingly good. Grades 4-8. --J. B. Petty

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 6 customer reviews
It is rare that a book is edgy, shocking, gross, and full of facts and intriguing science.
In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, source notes, a selected bibliography, and additional recommended book, film, and website resources to explore.
D. Fowler
At about 60 pages, this book gives you an insight into the weird and really fascinating world of real life zombie makers.
Lily @ Bookluvrs Haven

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Melissa on December 15, 2012
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
Reviewed from an ARC. It is rare that a book is edgy, shocking, gross, and full of facts and intriguing science. Zombie makers is both a perfect gift for kids and an essential book for every library. Rebecca Johnson follows on her award winning Journey into the Deep: Discovering New Ocean Creatures (Millbrook, 2011) with an even more compelling non-fiction book, sure to fly off the shelves: Zombie Makers: True Stories of Nature's Undead. The five chapters are organized by transmission vectors and begin with zombie-traits victims evince. Fact boxes for each `Zombie Maker', electrifyingly gruesome photographs, and frequent `Science Behind the Story' headings break up the pages and lure readers into the rich, solidly scientific text. Johnson uses plenty of gallows humor to leaven the truly appalling material; just think about the chapter titled `Can we eat the babysitter?' That only three of the `zombie makers' effect humans, as far as we know, does not diminish the startling impact of Johnson's work. Certain to elicit squeals from the squeamish, Zombie Makers is unforgettable and will inspire a generation with nature's ruthless invention and intrigue them with the dynamic scientific field that is constantly discovering new `zombie makers.' Perfect for reluctant readers as well as bookworms.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 14, 2012
Format: Library Binding
There's this podcast I like to listen to called "RadioLab", which is essentially just a show for people who like kooky science but are still a little foggy on what exactly Einstein's Theory of Relativity actually means or why the sun is hot. Science for the English majors, let's call it. Often the show will come up with really original stories, like the guy who purposefully gave himself tapeworms to cure his asthma (it worked). That story came from a show about parasites and it was accompanied by these strange unnerving stories about insects and viruses and worms that could turn their hosts into . . . well . . . zombies, basically. And though I am a children's librarian, the thought never occurred to me that these stories could, combined with others of the same ilk, create the world's most awesome work of nonfiction. Fortunately for all of us, Rebecca L. Johnson has not my shortsightedness. In "Zombie Makers: True Stories of Nature's Undead" you will meet a whole range of horrifying creatures. It is, without a doubt, probably the grossest book for kids I've ever read. And boy howdy let me tell you I have read a LOT Of gross books in my day.

What do you think of when you think of zombies? Do you think of lurching undead ready to feast on your braaaaaains? Or do you think of something a little more insidious like the REASON those zombies don't seem to have a lot of will of their own? As it happens, zombies are real. Not in the corpse-walker sense, necessarily, but in nature there are plenty of creatures willing to make others into their mindless slaves. Meet the hairworm Paragordius Triscuspidatus, which can convince a perfectly healthy cricket to drown itself.
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Format: Library Binding
Everyone knows that zombies aren't really real and the only time you see them are in movies. Bzzzz! Wrong. Everyone who isn't in the know is dead wrong because there are real creatures who "can take over the bodies and brains of innocent creatures." Yes, for real! This book discusses several "zombie makers," gives us nicknames, tells us about their unfortunate victims, and where and how they turn their victims into zombies. These unfortunate zombie victims even live in North America and undoubtedly you know who they are and have seen them. This book does remind you to remember and think about zombie makers because "they're closer than you think."

Take for example the common housefly. We've all seen them and swatted at them hoping they'll leave us alone. The Fungus Entomophthora muscae, otherwise known as the "Fly Enslaver," seeks out the fly to enslave it. E. muscae is parasitic and is a fungus that invades the body of the fly and turns it into a zombie. It then "spreads through the fly's body, feeding on its organs and tissues." Eventually the fly is so impacted, even its thought processes change and it becomes a slave of E. muscae and does its bidding. The zombie fly begins to walk, heading toward a clump of grass. How and why does this happen? Once you read this book you'll find out all about the process.

This is an amazing book about "nature's zombie maker's" and their unfortunate victims. This is definitely a high-interest book that will interest many young people, reluctant readers notwithstanding. The book gives off an aura of creepy, but exciting, something that the reader will be immediately drawn to. Even the table of contents with chapters entitled "Can We Eat the Babysitter?" are alluring.
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More About the Author

Rebecca L. Johnson has brought science to life in dozens of national award-winning books for children and young adults, including Zombie Makers: True Stories of Nature's Undead (ALA Notable, Junior Library Guild Selection, Junior Library Guild Top Pick, Kirkus Best Children's Books). Her books highlight why science is such an exciting endeavor: there is no shortage of new species, remarkable adaptations, and fresh insights into life on earth. She has been fortunate to work with many scientists in far-flung corners of the planet and bases much of her writing on personal experience.

"Through my books, I hope to show young people that the world is full of wonders, and that science is the path that leads to them."

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