Stuff That Scares Your Pants Off!: The Science Museum Book of Scary Things (and ways to avoid them)

Stuff That Scares Your Pants Off!: The Science Museum Book of Scary Things (and ways to avoid them)

by Glenn Murphy
     
 

In STUFF THAT SCARES YOUR PANTS OFF! Glenn Murphy shows us that it is OK to be scared and that there are very good reasons why we are able to feel fear. He looks closely at our most common fears, including natural disasters, predators, spiders, disease, needles, dentists, crashes, darkness, speaking in public, heights, ghosts and monsters, to show us how much of

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Overview

In STUFF THAT SCARES YOUR PANTS OFF! Glenn Murphy shows us that it is OK to be scared and that there are very good reasons why we are able to feel fear. He looks closely at our most common fears, including natural disasters, predators, spiders, disease, needles, dentists, crashes, darkness, speaking in public, heights, ghosts and monsters, to show us how much of that fear is perhaps unnecessary. The result is a fun, carefully pitched, popular-science title that mixes great true-life stories with the psychology of fear, the statistical probabilities of things happening and a lot of reassurance.

In STUFF THAT SCARES YOUR PANTS OFF! Glenn Murphy shows us that it is OK to be scared and that there are very good reasons why we are able to feel fear. He looks closely at our most common fears, including natural disasters, predators, spiders, disease, needles, dentists, crashes, darkness, speaking in public, heights, ghosts and monsters, to show us how much of that fear is perhaps unnecessary. The result is a fun, carefully pitched, popular-science title that mixes great true-life stories with the psychology of fear, the statistical probabilities of things happening and a lot of reassurance.


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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—A kid's world can sometimes be a scary place, from real-life terrors like deadly diseases to weird stuff like ghosts and monsters. But how many are really worth worrying about? This often-entertaining look at fears and phobias explores these creepy concepts. Each chapter focuses on a specific fear-provoking topic such as natural disasters, animal attacks, or accidents like ship and plane wrecks. The author provides scientific explanations for such worrisome phenomena as lightning and earthquakes and includes statistical details that point out the odds of actually experiencing any of the disasters. There is a particularly interesting section on odds and probabilities and how the human mind plays tricks with them to make comparatively rare occurrences seem more frequent. The writing style is breezy and conversational. Commonsense advice is mixed with light, sometimes sarcastic commentary. The author often includes personal accounts such as his unwise decision to eat raw chicken at a Japanese restaurant. Many of the chapters have a high gross-out quotient, which will certainly please the target audience. The illustrations are an intriguing mixture of photos-some dramatically staged-and amusing cartoon drawings. Unfortunately, the final chapter, "The Beyond," is not as well done as the rest of the book. Religious beliefs about life after death are overgeneralized and not always accurate. Murphy's reference to a supposed Native American belief in a Happy Hunting Ground is particularly egregious. In addition, some of the quotations used to introduce chapters cite adult works that are not appropriate for the intended audience of this title, from Stephen King's It (Penguin, 1986) to John Marshall's Social Phobia: From Shyness to Stage Fright (Basic Books, 1994).—Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL
Kirkus Reviews

Murphy, the author of Why Is Snot Green? (2009), tackles another high-interest subject in this entertaining look at fears and phobias.

In brief chapters, abundantly illustrated with amusing cartoons and photographs, the author explores common fears shared by people from all walks of life: wild animals, snakes and insects, natural disasters, dentists and doctors, darkness, death, drowning, heights, ghosts, monsters in closets and more. He explains the differences between innate and learned fears and between fears and phobias, also discussing their biological and psychological dimensions. After describing a particular fear, he follows with a discussion of how grounded in reality that fear is and explains the likelihood of that fear becoming a reality. "The odds of dying in a sandstorm or snowstorm are, for most people, very low... [They] are dangerous, but fairly predictable." As in his other books, Murphy includes enough gross details to keep readers engaged (some foodborne microorganisms "make us vomit and poo explosively") but always stays centered on science ("E. coli... is usually a harmless bacterium").

Reluctant readers, especially, will find Murphy's chatty, lighthearted approach appealing, enjoyable and informative. (source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780330510424
Publisher:
Pan Macmillan
Publication date:
07/03/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
16 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Before moving to the US in 2007, Glenn Murphy worked at the Science Museum in London, recruiting, training and overseeing the management of the 75-strong team of dynamic, bubbly science communicators who perform shows and interact with the public in the galleries. He now lives in North Carolina with his wife.

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