Read Zombie Makers: True Stories of Nature's Undead by Rebecca L. Johnson Online


Are zombies real? As far as we know, dead people do not come back to life and start walking around, looking for trouble. But there are things that can take over the bodies and brains of innocent creatures, turning them into senseless slaves. Meet nature's zombie makers--including a fly-enslaving fungus, a suicide worm, and a cockroach-taming wasp--and their victims....

Title : Zombie Makers: True Stories of Nature's Undead
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780761386339
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 48 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Zombie Makers: True Stories of Nature's Undead Reviews

  • karen
    2019-03-13 08:32

    oh my god.zombies are real, and they are mostly insects. i am not leaving my house, ever. although every summer, there are these tiny little beetles that come and live in my apartment, and i am always really nice to them and set them free out the window, and if they are zombies, i hope to all the higher powers that they will see me as a servant and not a potential zombie-host.this book is amazing. it is all about the ways in which parasites TAKE OVER the brains of their hosts. which is totally rude, but so freaking cool. some of them are standard: the entomophthora muscae fungus just uses a housefly as an incubator, and takes over the fly's tiny fly brain in order to control its movements to guide it to the most opportune place to kill the fly and EXPLODE its spores out into the atmosphere. whooosh!kiddie stuff.however, paragordius tricuspidatus are way more insidious. they let crickets eat their larvae, and then they hatch inside and start munching on the cricket's insides. pretty standard stuff, for a parasite. but then, they take over the cricket's tiny little brain and make it fling itself into the water, so the little worms can hatch out and swim free like willy. and if the crickets are removed from the water by well-meaning scientists, for science, the infected crickets will just jump back in, even though they are crappy swimmers who have been brain-attacked by killer worms.this is terrifying.and also, ew.i assume my brain is more complex than that of a cricket, but maybe it's not. maybe one day i will find myself flinging myself into some pond somewhere, at the mercy of worms who have been eating my insides for years and are now through with me.but wait - there's more.the glyptapanteles wasp. what a dick. so, a pregnant lady-wasp poops her eggs into a caterpillar with her stinger, right? and the larvae hatch inside and eat the caterpillar up, leaving it alive because they are sadistic. and they hatch on out of there, still leaving the caterpillar alive, although all weak-like. and then they do their little thing where they make little cocoons. but. but. the caterpillar is still alive. and some of the little larvae stayed inside the caterpillar. AND THEY ARE USING IT LIKE A TANK!! they hang out in there and release chemicals that take over the caterpillar's tiny caterpillar mind, and they guard the cocoons. and if a bugga comes near to investigate the cocoons, the caterpillar, under the control of the stay-at-home larvae, will whap the bugga whooooosh away from the cocoons. and as soon as the cocoons hatch into beautiful wasps, the larvae lose interest in the caterpillar and it dies.holy hell.i mean, there is more, but it is all horrifying. let me leave you with this fact:according to the center for disease control and prevention, nearly one-quarter of adults and adolescents in the united states are infected with t. gondii. they just don't know, they say that they don't really understand t. gondii all that well, and people who are "infected" might not be "affected" by its presence, BUT DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT DOES??? IN RATS???basically, that. it goes into rat-brains and turns off their fear instinct. and this is probably in you. and me. making you walk down that dark alley or pet that crocodile or watch rock of agesi mean, just be smart. don't let a protozoan push you around.and by that, i mean tom cruise.

  • Greg
    2019-02-26 05:32

    I can see giving this to the right kid and scaring the shit bejesus out of him so badly that he'll be in therapy until he's forty just to be able to go into nature ever again. There are funguses and viruses and creepy worms out there just waiting to parasite it up inside of a hosts body and some of these things can even hijack control of the brain and get the host to do some destructive and very out of character actions. We don't necessarily think of a cricket as being really high on the scale of cognitive volition, they are insects and they do insect things, which from out apex of mammal-dom doesn't look all that sophisticated. (Ok, maybe it does some complex things, but did you ever think of a cricket as sitting around and wondering what it should do, being sad in the face of contemplating all it's 'free-will', or just unable to leap from one leaf to another because it can't think of what it wants to eat tonight. Yeah maybe these aren't the most sophisticated thoughts, but they are thoughts about thoughts, the basis of what we think of as our own cognitive free-will) But with the introduction of the hairworm, Paragordius Tricuspidatus the cricket's sole purpose becomes to jump in water, never mind that crickets can't swim and they instinctively avoid water. What does something like this mean for the concepts of free will? Obviously a cricket that can't swim isn't going to intentionally throw itself in water, that kind of behavior would have been easily bred out of the gene pool by evolution a long time ago. But Paragordius Tricuspidatus doesn't infect us, and make us want to drown ourselves in order for the little hairworm (well not really that little in comparison to the size of a cricket, the little (opps I almost said a dirty word, and this is a kid's book review, I'm going to be good) worm is actually three feet long! But what about the single cell parasite Toxoplasma Gondii that lowers the fear instinct in rats to such a degree that they actually seek out and want to be around their natural predator, the house cat? Apparently 25% of all people are infected with this little zombie-maker, and it does little to humans, but isn't in conceivable that with some good old evolution T. gondii could find a use for us, all it would take is some strain of it to have a marked success at doing something that would increase it's chances of survival and we could be throwing ourselves into lion cages or something, right? Ok, that is facetious. But still it's a little chilling what a tiny microbe can do to so called free-will. Karen wrote a review with some great visuals of some of the different zombie parasites out there just waiting to take control of unsuspecting hosts. You can read her review here if you haven't already, of just go back and read it again and be creeped out by the picture of the mice hanging out on a cat's face. you've read The Book of Dangerous Animals this book will give you even more reasons to never venture outside again, and maybe even not want to let things into your house (T. gondii is out to get you! You are possibly already infected from eating undercooked meat, eating unwashed vegetables or changing your cat's litter box). If you haven't read the other book you should just so you can realize the full extent of the dangers nature has waiting for you. And then read this childrens book when it is released this fall. Shameless plug (I mean, reference for this review:

  • Lily at Bookluvrs Haven
    2019-03-19 01:51

    Review originally featured on Bookluvrs Haven.I sometimes joke that I am a 6 year old boy living in an adult woman's body. And it could not be more true than when I started reading this book. Absolutely loved it! It was icky. It was gross. It was graphic and fascinating. And it had A TON of pictures!At about 60 pages long, this book gives you an insight into the weird and really fascinating world of real life zombie makers. From fungi, to insects, to parasitic worms, this book will leave your very own internal 6 year old self cringing and yelling "Cool!!!" at every turn of the page.I actually read this book back to back TWICE! And brought it to work with me at the office, and showed some of the pics to a couple of the guys at work during our lunch..... Who also thought the pics were totally cool. And proceeded to google it and found more gross pictures of some of these things for us to gawk at. It was almost like being in grade 1 all over again. Pretty awesome!

  • Leigh Collazo
    2019-03-21 02:50

    More reviews at Mrs. ReaderPants.REVIEW: Interesting with plenty of the "ewww" factor, Zombie Makers will be a hit with reluctant readers, science geeks, or those who just love to be grossed out. Each chapter includes pages packed with full-color close-ups (using photomicroscopy) of insects, fungi, worms, viruses, and other parasites that prey on their unfortunate hosts. For me, the chapter on parasitic worms (chapter 2) is particularly disgusting and make me really want to avoid drinking any water in Africa, where 3-foot long guinea worms wait for some poor soul to drink water containing water fleas, which host the guinea worms. The photo on p. 20 shows a human leg with a partially extracted guinea worm hanging out of it. The worms are considered "zombie-making" because the sore the worm creates in its victim's leg makes the victim want to jump into a lake or river, where the female guinea worm will exit the host's body and release millions of her larvae into the water. The larvae are eaten by the water fleas, and the cycle continues. Aye carumba, these things are creative! Other zombie-making parasites include two different wasps that inject their eggs into live bugs and caterpillars, rabies virus multiplying inside the saliva of mammals, a suicide worm that makes crickets jump into water and drown, and a parasite passed between cats and rats that can be passed to humans. Each different parasite's section contains the "science behind the story", a short paragraph or two that explain scientific studies on the parasite including how scientists discovered it and what we can do to prevent human infection.Zombie Makers includes an introduction tying the bugs to the zombies of modern movies and books as well as an Afterword that discusses the evolution of parasites and how they have adapted to ensure the survival of offspring. Each of the five chapters begins with a "Zombie Trait" such as "Stares vacantly ahead! Moves slowly and mechanically. Behaves oddly," (chapter 1), which further relates the book's subject matter to modern depictions of zombies. There is a Table of Contents, Author's Note, Glossary, Source Notes, Bibliography, More to Explore, an Index, and Photo Acknowledgments. Of note, the More to Explore section includes links and descriptions to websites and videos. I included one of the videos killer fungi below. It's only three minutes, but it is a must-see. Show this video to students, and this book will be checked out constantly. As an aside, while I was writing this review, a fly landed on my bare foot. I nearly jumped out of my skin!THE BOTTOM LINE: Amazing, disgusting, and utterly fascinating, Zombie Makers is a MUST in any library. Sensitive readers who are easily grossed-out might not be the best audience for this book, but many will absolutely devour it. STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: On order. I cannot wait to talk this one up with my students!READALIKES: Belly-Busting Worm Invasions!: Parasites That Love Your Insides! (Tilden) Presentation & layout:5/5--plenty of white space, every photo includes a short caption, lots of boxes to draw the eye to certain information, headings and subheadings stand out in a much larger, dark red font. Quality of information: 5/5--Except for the rabies virus, I had not previously heard of any of these parasites. Scientific information is presented in a conversational tone, which will really help to draw in reluctant readers. It's hard not to keep reading this one.Photos/illustrations: 5/5--LOTS of large, full-color photos! Every single page has at least one large photo, and many have multiple photos. Captions effectively describe each photo and will draw even the most casual reader to the main text on the page. Documentation of sources: 5/5--More than one full page of bibliographic sources, plus a fantastic "More to Explore" section referencing short videos and other books for further reading. I plan to use the books in this section when I order books for my library. Front and back matter: 5/5--Includes TOC, introduction, afterword, glossary, author's note, source notes, photo acknowledgments, and index. I would like to have seen a map of where these parasites are found included in each section. Want to avoid these things as much as possible!!!!Engrossing: 5/5--Oh yeah, I could not stop turning the pages. I even went back to previous sections after I finished just to look at them again.Writing: 5/5--Conversational tone is easy to understand and draws readers in. This is addicting reading! Appeal to teens: 5/5--Once I talk this book up with a few classes (and show the video below), I doubt I will see this book for the rest of the school year. Seriously cool stuff here! Appropriate length: 5/5--Interesting, colorful, and superbly done.THE BOTTOM LINE: A must for middle school libraries. Upper-elementary is also a possibility for students who won't get freaked out by the concept.STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: On order.READALIKES: Belly-Busting Worm Invasions!: Parasites That Love Your Insides! (Tilden)CONTENT:Language: noneSexuality: none Violence: mild; parasite concept may frighten sensitive readersDrugs/Alcohol: noneOther: high gross-out factor

  • Susan
    2019-03-19 08:43

    Zombies aren't far as we know...but there are things in nature that can take over innocent creatures' bodies & brians. This non-fiction book looks at these "zombie making" parasites in excellent depth. In each chapter, the author shares about several different species, ending with the "science behind the story". Includes lots of photographs and detailed biblography, websites, and book lists for further reading.

  • Brenda Kahn
    2019-02-28 06:40

    Yikes! I'm glad I didn't read this book after lunch, or I might have lost it. As it was, I pretty much lost my appetite for lunch and have crossed several travel destinations off my list and am feeling leery about water...Eye-catching from it's title through its design and containing lots of full-color photographs of the parasites and their host victims in action, this one will be irresistible.

  • Chris
    2019-02-21 04:54

    Oh my goodness. Soooo creeeeeepy! Do not read this book if you are slightly squeamish. Do read this book if you want to be weirded out by the unfathomable variety of life on our planet that we are only beginning to comprehend.

  • Linda
    2019-03-17 03:53

    fantastic - all my students will love this book

  • paula
    2019-03-12 09:37

    REALLY well-researched, REALLY ooky stories. Mostly invertebrates, but the guinea worm in the human leg is a picture I won't be able to forget any time soon. Will be read to pieces.

  • Betsy
    2019-03-11 08:37

    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. Or Toxoplasma Gondii which, aside from being the reason you're not supposed to let pregnant women near cat poop, turns rats into suicidal kitty lovers. Page by page author Rebecca Johnson presents us with examples of evolution gone amuck. Zombie makers exist, it's true, and as their hosts we'd better learn as much as we can about them before they get to us next!Zombies actually get a lot of play in children's literature these days. Insofar as I can tell there are two ways to play them. They can't be romantic like vampires or other members of the monster family so they must either be funny or horrifying. Funny is the route that I'd say 85% of kids' books about zombies go. Whether you're talking about Zombiekins or The Zombie Chasers or Undead Ed or any of the other books out there, funny is usually the way to go. I say that, but a lot of what kids want when they enter a library is to be scared. And if you can scare them with real stuff, and maybe even gross them out a little, you are gold, my friend. That's why this book works as well as it does.Johnson cleverly sets up the book so that readers can compare and contrast what they know about zombies, zombie talking points let's say, with these zombie-esque diseases, parasites, and insects. I'd never really thought about Old Yeller as a zombie story, but that's what it is, isn't it? A beloved member of the family is bitten by something evil and suddenly the boy who loves it most must put it down before something worse happens. That's a zombie plot, but it's Johnson who makes you realize that rabies is just another form of zombie fun. By couching her nonfiction tale within popular zombie fiction tropes, she has an easy in with the child readership.The writing is superb in and of itself, no doubt, but I wonder if interest in this book would be quite so high if it were not for the accompanying disquieting photographs. The book as an object is beautifully designed from start to finish, which only helps to highlight the photographs found inside.What I really liked about the photos was that they had two different ways of freaking the average reader out. On the one hand you have the photos that go for the immediate ARGGGG! reaction. I am thinking specifically of the worm. The worm that infects human beings. That makes them want to plunge themselves into the water where it breaks out of the skin and leaves the body. Alien much? The image of someone slowly and painfully removing the worm without water is enough to make you lose your lunch. But even better are the photos that elicit a slow dawning sense of horror. The fungus O. unilateralis is a clever beastie, and its greatest trick is in forcing ants to clamp onto leafs and die (but only where the temperature is just right). There's a shot of a dead ant with a long horrible reproductive stalk emerging out of its head, spreading its spores to other innocent ants. It's a quiet photo and lacks the urgency and pain of the leg worm shot, but it's worse somehow. It has this brooding malice to it. You actually do not want to touch the page in the book for fear of somehow touching the fungus. That's how effective it is.Children's librarians often try to lure kids into reading nonfiction by doing what we call booktalks. If you're a good booktalker you can get your audience to fight over even the dullest looking book. Some books, however, sell themselves. Hold up this book and there's not a child alive who won't be instantly fascinated. Describe even one of the stories inside and you might have at last found the book they want even more than the latest edition of Guinness World Records. Informative even as it makes you want to go hide in a clean, sanitized hole somewhere, Johnson has created a clever little book that is bound to keep adult and child readers who find it, enthralled. Ick. Bleach. Awesome.For ages 9 and up.

  • Sasha
    2019-03-08 02:31

    Not for the faint-hearted, this book features insects, parasites, and worms that cause their hosts to become zombies. The photography is excellent but there is one photo of a roundworm in a human leg that might cause nightmares so proceed with caution. I found this on a list of "books best for nine-year olds" but I am not sure I would buy this as a present for any child in fear of traumatizing them. As a non-fiction book, it is fascinating and easy to read.

  • Aydan Qanbarli
    2019-03-07 01:53

    Are zombies real? Scientists know this for sure: dead people do not come back to live and start walking around, looking for trouble. But there are things that can take over the bodies and brains of innocent creatures, turning them into senseless slaves. Meet natures zombie makers--including a fly-enslaving fungus, a suicide worm, and a cockroach-taming waspand their victims.

  • Scott
    2019-02-20 08:46

    Zombie Makers is an informative book about how parasitic viruses and worms transform animals into zombies. We learned much about the life cycles of these parasites and their hosts and how the hosts are real zombies.

  • Audrey
    2019-03-11 03:35

    What first drew me to Zombie Makers was the promise of reading about one of my favorite subjects: parasites! I was also really excited at the prospect of reading something that was obviously going to be creepy and disgusting. What made the book even better, though, were the gorgeous color illustrations that appear on each page. Even though I was reading a digital galley, I saw some sample pages of the finished book at ALA, and this thing is going to look really slick as a physical book.Johnson’s cleverly structured the chapters thematically by “zombie traits,” such as the need to bite or acting mindlessly. Nature is cruel, and parasites turn some of our greatest fears into realities, like being paralyzed while an infant slowly eats you from the inside out. That’s dang scary, and actually happens to cockroaches that have been taken over by the jewel wasp. The parasites in this book aren’t limited to those that attack insects, though. Johnson includes the guinea worm, which grows inside of a person’s body, then bursts out when the person plunges the aching limb into water. Before that, you can see the worm squirming subcutaneously! And yes, there’s a photograph of a guinea worm emerging from a leg. It’s gruesome stuff. Rabies, aka canine madness aka hydrophobia, is also discussed, and we all know that rabies can turn man’s best friend into a drooling, snarling monster, as evidenced by Old Yeller.This book is chock full of fun subject matter that will fascinate kids. It’s the kind of book I would have carried around with me as a kid and read over and over, and then recounted to anybody who would listen. Heck, I still might do that as an adult. Johnson writes in clear language that a kid can understand, but you don’t get the feeling that it has been dumbed down, either. Also, after a gruesome initial descriptions, she gives the history of how the scientists figured this stuff out. If a kid needs somebody to idolize, I think the researchers described in this book could fit the bill.The one caveat about this book is that it is probably not a good book for people who are squeamish about bugs; however, it is great for people who love to look at images of insects in detail. This is a terrific book to give kids to get them interested in science and biology, all while stimulating their imaginations.

  • Joan
    2019-03-13 03:48

    I was tempted to mark this book as being part of the vegetarian bookshelf. Certainly would incline one in that direction! ICK!!!!! This book is extremely, deliciously (hmm, bad choice of words there) gross. I managed to read the entire book without once looking at the photos directly. I'm afraid of bugs and boy this book doesn't help that phobia any! Although you can argue that you could feel sorry for the other bugs that tend to be the victims on the zombie makers. I can't make the argument, because I don't feel sorry for those bugs. Just totally grossed out. Librarians, treasure this book. You know have a sure fire winner for many reluctant readers, boys and girls. Probably a bit more boy than girl but both will go for this book. Expect a lot of OOOOO GRRRRROOOOSSS!!!! comments while the kids look through this book. (Do the kids a favor: try to make sure they are not afraid of bugs because this book will terrify them, not give them the ooo gross reaction.) This book may use the magic word zombies to get attention and provide a hook to draw the kid in but it is actually a perfectly serious nonfiction book that will be useful for homework assignments where the kid has to read and report on their book. It is a fact of science that mostly larvae but also parent insects mostly or bacteria or fungus will in some fashion control the actions of its victims to give its offspring a better chance at surviving and reproducing. So the science is carefully covered while the kids are busy with ooo gross enjoyment. They will likely learn more than they think from the book. BTW just to add to the icky factor, cats and humans are mentioned as either carriers (cats) or victims (people and rabies, people and guinea worms). I obviously can't speak to the quality of the photos but I got the vague impression they did their job just great. I repeat, this is a great selection for kids' librarians. Ahh, I suggest showing it to the kid first, not the parent! ICCCCCKKKK! Biblograpphy, glossary, index and source emails with various scientists are carefully noted.

  • Sharon Tyler
    2019-03-06 03:50

    Zombie Makers: True Stories of Nature's Undead Rebecca L. Johnson is a non fiction book for children, around age 9 and older) scheduled for release on October 1 2012. The book is all about some of the fungi and parasites that can turn their hosts into zombies, not the zombie people that one might think about from popular culture, but still following the bidding of the creatures invading their body. Nature's zombie makers cannot raise creatures from the dead, but instead use their hosts for food and to aid in procreation. Some of the zombie makers included are a fly-enslaving fungus, a suicide worm, and a cockroach-taming wasp. Zombie Makers is very well researched and put together to make the information accessible, interesting, and flow well. Words are defined and have pronunciations through out the text, helping even unfamiliar terms make sense. Young readers that are interested in creepy crawlies and the oddities of nature will be fascinated by the book, but those more squeamish or sensitive might want to keep walking past it. There are definitely a high gross out factor here, as you might expect, which has me looking at innocent insects a little differently in my daily life. However, I think those most likely to read the book's description or pick it up because of the title are likely to get exactly what they are looking for. I found the book to be unnerving; because of the creepy crawlies in the world, informative, and very interesting.

  • Alhassan
    2019-03-04 07:40

    Last week I happily went to the library and chose the worst book ever! When I borrowed this book I thought it was about how scientists made zombies out of living things. I was very very wrong. Zombie Makers, by Rebecca L. Jphnson is a book about how fungus and worms get into insects and turn them into slaves or zombies. Did you know that there is a fungus that can turn a fly into a zombie? And one that can turn an ant into a zombie? How about a worm that turns a cricket into a zombie? I learned that there is a lot of stuff in the world that is disgusting and can bring you nightmares.I know that this book is non fiction because it is about insects that exist and it is a scientific book. I would not recommend this book to my friends becus it is so so disgusting in a scary way. I learned that I need to always drink clean water and not from rivers because I can infected with a guinea worm. I also that you should not touch bird poop because it may have worm larvae. Ants can be turned into zombies and snails that have big tentacles are infected too.I would not recommend this book to anyone unless they like nightmares. I like science but I hate this kind of science. I don't want to be close to bugs anymore.

  • Melissa Mcavoy
    2019-03-17 04:49

    Reviewed from an ARC. 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 facts; 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, do 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 the dynamic scientific field that is constantly discovering new ‘zombie makers.’ Suitable for reports, the volume contains a glossary, source notes, bibliography, index and a rich list of websites, videos and books for further exploration.

  • Becky B
    2019-03-06 04:36

    If you are having trouble keeping the attention of students during science class or having trouble motivating a reluctant reader, you might want to try out this informative picture book. It is sure to have kids (and adults) covering their faces with their hands but too curious not to peak through their fingers. Johnson gives short 1-2 page descriptions of these fungi, nematodes, protozoans, insects, and viruses that take over the brains and bodies of other living creatures. Not only will this keep readers enthralled, it is a great scientific description of the life cycles of protists, fungi, insects, and viruses in easy to understand language. (And also a healthy warning about watching where you get your water and food from.) The back of the book has loads of further resources on parasites as well. I especially appreciated how the author made sure to tell what each parasite can infect so kids are freaking out about spores growing out of their heads. Only the water-born worms, rabies, and virus found in cat feces can infect humans...and it's probably good to warn kids about all of those.The book could be used with grades 3-12.

  • Marsha
    2019-03-01 05:51

    Zombies are the new vampires. While bloodsuckers still loom large in the public mind, other people are turning their interests towards the shambling dead. But human zombies don't exist any more than human vampires do. However, they exist in nature and this slim book is devoted to outlining, in glorious color, the horror, the horror that lies closer than you think. The photographs are wonderfully explicit, the prose easy to digest and the science is clear cut without being too overwhelming. (Yes, there are Latin phrases but no one expects you to remember them.) Diseases that you might not associate with zombification are shown to adhere to all the behavior that we associate with it. Is there a slow infection of the host body? Check. Does the host start to exhibit atypical behavior like a loss of fear and the urge to bite others? Check. Is the host shambling about oblivious to its surroundings? Check. Does the host then infect others of its own kind? Check and doublecheck.This is a grand book for that little zombie lover in your midst and I think adults will get a kick out of it as well. Which came first? The infected cat feces or the rat?

  • Jim Erekson
    2019-03-11 01:42

    I remember hearing about these kinds of parasites on NPR a couple of years ago, ones that infect mice so they don't flee from predators and thus get eaten easily(the parasite then spreads through the predator). T. Gondii is featured on p. 39 of this book.It's a great topic for a kids' book, because it's powerful and interesting science, but unlikely to be textbook science material and it's not one of the perennial topics like dinosaurs. Using the current mania for zombies was a good move by Rebecca Johnson to package the topic. Bibliography and source notes are very good! The thing that pushes this beyond the normal shock value is that every featured parasite is accompanied by "The Science Behind the Story" where Johnson discusses the work of specific scientists who have studied each parasite. I'll have to send a copy to Nancy's dad, Dick Heckmann, who is a parasitologist at Brigham Young!

  • Michelle
    2019-03-17 01:54

    What's scarier than movie zombies? Knowing they actually exist. Okay. Not like the human kind but there are many creatures in nature that become mindless, crazed zombies all because of some miniscule parasite. The one that creeped me out the most was the Guinea Worm that actually crawls in humans in Africa after being consumed in contaminated water. These worms can grow up to 3 feet long, looking like spaghetti crawling around inside of you. They crawl to the leg of the host and lay their eggs there causing a painfully sore blister. Often heading to water to calm the pain (the obey commands zombie trait), the worm them crawls out causing the gross cycle all over again. Blech! People actually would get this slowly pulled out over the course of days or even weeks. Breaking the worm could leave you crippled, infection and even death. Sounds like a great time!

  • Samantha
    2019-02-27 07:26

    A look at insects and animals who display zombie-like traits after becoming infected by different parasites and fungi. Each chapter begins with a zombie trait and then the creature is introduced that suffers from the trait and then the science behind the activity is explained. Great photographs lets readers get a close up view of parasites and the damage they cause to the creatures they infect.Hands down the writing style and tone is tops in this book. The author sets a creepy tone and maintains it throughout which is a huge appeal for kids, especially boys. This would be a fun read aloud, though probably just portions at a time as reading it in one sitting aloud wouldn't be ideal. This book is fascinating!!! Kids nonfiction at its best!

  • Kermit
    2019-03-10 03:40

    4.3 starsTotal yuk factor which is great for kids. Even though there are no zombies in real life, this book describes various situations of zombie-ish behavior in animals where fungus or parasites or worms take over other living things and control their actions---and, of course, kill them.I hate crickets, and so I was kind of glad to read about some larvae that crickets ingest (as they are snacking on dead insects) that grow into worms inside the body of the cricket and take over their brains and cause them to seek out bodies of water and jump in and drown themselves----because the worms need water in order to emerge from the crickets’ bodies.

  • Jessica
    2019-02-26 08:24

    Appeal Characteristics: zombie bugs, visualizations, layout, information structureOMG. I threw up a bit in my mouth. I could barely finish this book, and I had to flip really fast through some of the pictures. UGH, this book was sooo out of my element, I was completely grossed out. In saying will gobble this stuff up. Especially since they might not be allowed to watch a lot of zombie shows/movies this book is great for connecting those zombie shows with what happens in nature. Still it's super gross, and icky...and yet it was sorta fascinating...especially with what some of the worm hosts do... *shudders*

  • Annie Oosterwyk
    2019-02-26 04:47

    The world is a savage place. This book details the life cycles of various parasites, viruses and fungi as they take over their host and create the conditions they need to reproduce. Great things about this book are: photographs (these are fantastic and all taken by different photographers), the zombie premise (a current draw for kids today), layout (consistent throughout, with the story and then a section called "the science behind the story" which shares how scientists worked in the field to understand these creatures), website connections and further reading suggestions in the back. Overall just a fascinating and well done book. I will be ordering this for the library.

  • Nathan
    2019-02-21 01:43

    I love children's non-fiction, and frequently some come through that I cannot keep myself from reading as I catalog them for the library. This book is a perfect case in point. I picked it up thinking that the natural world was being exploited by writers dying to latch onto a pop culture fad. Now that I have read it, I know that is not really the case. Some organisms have evolved some incredibly elaborate adaptations as part of a parasite/host relationship.Such a fascinating subject, all wonderfully illustrated with real photographs! I cannot wait to introduce this book to older elementary and younger middle school students.

  • Soh Kam Yung
    2019-02-20 02:36

    For children (and child-like adults) who don't mind seeing 'yucky' images of parasites turning their hosts into zombies to reproduce, this is a good book for a quick read.The book covers a few types of parasites, from viruses, fungus to worms, with descriptions of what they do to the hosts in order to reproduce. The science behind the parasites' behavior is also given.Probably the most 'yuck' inducing parasites are those that can affect us: the guinea worm and rabies. Fortunately, the guinea worm can be easily eradicated but not rabies, so watch out: don't become a Zombie!

  • Cassidy Wheeler
    2019-03-11 07:41

    This book is not for those who are squeamish. Zombie Makers is a book about parasites, insects and other organisms that cause their hosts or prey to become like zombies, they don't have "free will" they're under the control of their attackers. From being used as a body guard, to being driven to fling themselves into bodies of water knowing they can't swim, this book offers a lot of different visuals of what these parasites do to their prey. Best suited for 4-6 grade, or anyone who's interested in bugs.

  • Erika
    2019-03-19 09:50

    I just saw this book on the shelf while we were walking around the library and I was intrigued. True stories of nature's undead? I want to know more! I love animals and bugs, and this book goes in depth telling about parasites that infect the body of other living things--nothing new, but these are animals/fungus/viruses that infect other animals and actually take over their brains. It was fascinating and I was glad I picked it up!