Deadly!: The Truth About the Most
Dangerous Creatures on Earth
by Nicola Davies; illus. by Neal Layton
Primary, Intermediate Candlewick 64 pp.
3/13 978-0-7636-6231-8 $14.99
Readers with a taste for the grisly realism of nature will revel in the latest Davies and Layton collaboration, featuring the ways in which animals cause lasting harm or death to other animals, including humans. No punches are pulled here — this is gory-but-fascinating information about predators and defenders and the adaptations that assist in their survival. Davies commendably balances spectacle and science, providing accounts that are rich with factual detail (how big cats kill their prey with teeth, muscles, speed, and sight; why some ants explode themselves for the sake of their colonies) and admiration for the diversity and realities of life. Davies also alerts readers to the ways in which animals such as spiders, snakes, and tigers inadvertently (and sometimes even deliberately) hurt humans. The book ends with an upbeat perspective on how all these seemingly bad ends have positive outcomes for both humans and the environment. Layton’s cartoon illustrations skillfully lighten the tone, as animals in the throes of death or dismemberment often provide humorous asides and jokes.
From the March/April 2013 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.