A regular old sneeze…turns out to be more fascinating than you think.
The New York Times
Spectacular pictures leap off the pages of Sneeze, a book about nose irritants. Siy and Kunkel use black and white pictures of children, coupled with full color micrograph --an image that has been magnified thousands of times. The children are pictured near hay, dust, mold, etc., and the micrographs show these irritants up close and personal. These photos carry the book. Most of us have never seen a mold spore. To introduce each irritant, Siy and Kunkel photographed children doing familiar tasks. Lily is feeding the horses. Jonnie is walking through the musty basement. Isaiah is at dinner and asks his brother to please pass the pepper. While not a bad organizational tool, the writing in these segments is stilted and detracts from both the wonderful pictures, and the more flowing informational style used when the authors explain how the irritant works in your body. The other major shortfall of this book is that it does not explain what a sneeze is until the end of the book. It is not until page 40 that we learn “The purpose of a sneeze is to dislodge and remove foreign particles from the nose...” This information would have been welcomed much earlier. Even with these shortcomings, however, it is a book worth looking at. Backmatter includes discussion of photos, resources, and glossary. Reviewer: Amy S. Hansen
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Sneezessome can be heard across a room while others are more discreet. Sometimes people just have a single sneeze while with others it is a series of sneezes. What causes them, what actually happens in your body, and what is propelled out of the body are some of the fascinating bits of information in this book. There is also a lot of the gross factor which will appeal to many kids. For example, the speed of air expelled as the result of a sneeze is about 100 miles an hour, and the spray can cover an area of about five feet. The mites, viruses and allergens that can cause sneezes are truly incredible looking and seem like your worst ideas of an alien invasion, and in a way that is what they arealien invaders into the body that are being expelled. While we cannot see with unaided eyes what is happening in our bodies, the grains of pollen, the dust mites and their fecal pellets, mold spores and the like, the pictures in this book, called electron micrographs, are able to give us a view because they were created with either a scanning electron microscope or a transmission electron microscope. Each page identifies the magnification associated with the image, and they range from a magnification of several hundred to several thousand times the original size. In spite of their alien nature, there is a beauty in many of these images, such as the picture of the inner surface of the windpipe and the cilia that line it. It leads to a better understanding of how our bodies work and an appreciation for just how complex they are. The back matter includes a collection of interesting facts and the frames from the first copyrighted motion picture of a sneeze which was made by Thomas Edison.In addition, there is a description of micrographs, a glossary, and list of resources which are mostly web sites. A book that should be picked up by most third-grade boys and anyone else interested in the subject.
School Library Journal
The first part of this book gives nine reasons for sneezes. A spread is devoted to each one, complete with a black-and-white photograph of an irritated nose or two, paired with a color enlargement of the microscopic component that causes the particular sneeze. Lily's got pollen in her nose; she's shown mid-sneeze. Pollen grains are shown magnified 1,525 times. Other pests include ground pepper, dust mites, mildew, dust, and the flu virus. The large, white text on a black background, while giving a picture-book look, is actually packed with a lot of information. Readers will learn that even bright sunshine can make one's nose get all itchy and twitchy. The text is chatty and inviting. Children are pictured sniffling through their particular sneeze-inducing dilemmas. One section delves into what goes into the making of a sneeze: "A sneeze is a reflex . . . ." A "More About Sneezing" section is quite interesting. For example, people don't sneeze while they're sleeping, and some people sneeze while they pluck their eyebrows. This is a unique selection, good for reports and for browsers.
Anne Chapman CallaghanCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
With an opening likely to leave hypochondriacs in a state of blind panic, Siy and Kunkel return to introduce no fewer than nine children about to sneeze, each from a different cause, before going on to trace the reflex's complex neuro-muscular pathways. Kunkel's typically riveting micrographs zoom in on pollen grains, a single piece of ground pepper, a dust mite floating in a clout of skin flakes and fecal pellets, mildew, a clot of house dust, cat dander, viruses and other sneeze-inducers-all beautifully colorized (properly so noted) and carefully labeled. Capped with a gathering of extra facts, stills from Thomas Edison's first moving picture (guess its title) and a list of resources, mostly from the web, this offering has it all-from explosive humor and drama to fascinating pictures, precise and clearly presented information, useful backmatter and a topic that touches on a universal experience. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)