Strange Stuff: True Stories of Odd Places and Things

Strange Stuff: True Stories of Odd Places and Things

by Janet Nuzum Myers, Maj-Britt Hagsted, Maj-Britt Hagsted

Editorial Reviews

This title covers "odd" areas of interest, mostly truelife mysteries such as the Bermuda Triangle, Bigfoot, and Atlantis, combined with the strange natural phenomena of carnivorous plants, quicksand, black holes, and tarantulas. With an eyecatching, black and silver cover, the book contrasts myth and fact in a chatty, informal tone, and its brevity will attract reluctant readers. Several structural and writing flaws, however, weaken what could be a good browser. Plants and animals are often personifiedhere, what may work in fiction is a defect in nonfiction. The Venus Flytrap "enjoys an occasional insect" and a male tarantula is "worried" about becoming a female's dinner. Poor grammar and abrupt tense changes are present throughout, promoting the "chatty" tone of the book to the detriment of serious reading. Illustrations that might benefit the reader are sparse and often do not depict what is being discussed in the text. The chapter on mermaids offers a theory that sailors can mistake manatees for women in the water, but the illustration does not give enough detail for the reader to draw a conclusion. Some chapters such as "What's Creepiera Scorpion or a Tarantula?" seem to exist only as padding, revealing no new "strange stuff" that a reader would not get from an encyclopedia. Flaws seriously detract from content in this poor effort for an otherwise popular topic. Teen browsers of truelife mysteries and odd natural phenomena would find this entertaining only for a few minutes. Titles that might catch and hold their interest longer are Paranormal Powers (Secrets of the Unexplained) (Marshal Cavendish, 1998), The Phantom Hitchhiker and Other Unsolved Mysteries (Kingfisher Books,1995),and the Unsolved Mysteries series from Raintree SteckVaughn (VOYA October 1999). Index. Illus. Biblio. VOYA CODES: 2Q 4P M J (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 1999, Linnet/Shoe String Press, Ages 12 to 15, 104p, $19.50. Reviewer: Hilary Theyer
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-A miscellany of curiosities. Amusing descriptions reveal tidbits about the dangers of quicksand, carnivorous plants, voodoo, zombies, scorpions, tarantulas, poisonous snakes, and black holes. Evidence supporting and debunking belief in Bigfoot, the Bermuda triangle, the treasure of Oak Island, mermaids, and Atlantis helps readers decide about these mysteries. A chapter on feral children presents accounts of youngsters found in Germany, Lithuania, France, Texas, and India who were believed to have been raised by wild animals. Less flashy and less dependent on illustrations than Colin Wilson's Mysteries of the Universe (DK, 1997), the book gives enough information to satisfy browsers' curiosity. The extensive bibliography of books and periodical articles, divided by chapter, provides ample opportunity for further exploration. Joanna Crosse's The Element Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mind, Body, Spirit & Earth (Element, 1998) is much more far-ranging in its inclusion of unusual topics, but Strange Stuff has better entertainment value.-Ann G. Brouse, Big Flats Branch Library, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
This brief text of 95 pages fascinates and interests the reader with 12 short topics about oddities, including feral children, snake charmers, carnivorous plants, mysteries, and some borderline science. Atlantis, the Bermuda Triangle, and mermaids also are discussed.The text samples the strange stuff and things to wonder about. A reader journeys down a path of decision, learning, exploring, discovering, and becoming familiar with the topics presented. The bibliography should pique the reader's interest in exploring references and doing extra research for the wonder of it. Recommended, Grades 5-12. REVIEWER: Victor Mastrovincenzo (Hudson County Community College)

Product Details

Shoe String Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.84(w) x 8.84(h) x 0.57(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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