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Bite into Bloodsuckers

Bite In To Blood Suckers

Winters, Kari-Lynn. (2015). Illustrated by Ishta Mercurio. Bite Into Bloodsuckers. Fitzhenry & Whiteside. 32 pages. Ages 7+. ISBN-10: 1554553261, ISBN-13: 978-1554553266


About

Most people hear the word “vampire” and they think of shady, nocturnal characters with capes and pointed teeth. But that’s all pretend…right? Wrong! Blood-thirsty creatures are real—but not in the ways you might be imagining them! In fact, there are trillions of vampires creeping, crawling, swimming, buzzing and even flying among us. Whether they are the fleas that love your pets as much as you do, the bedbugs that snuggle in with you at night, the lampreys that eat your fish dinner before you do, or the seemingly innocent butterflies that flutter above, these vampires come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and species.

Bloodsucking creatures are known for their irritating habits. They pierce your skin, drink your blood, and sometimes spread diseases. They range from highly annoying to deadly. It’s difficult to love them, but these hungry critters are a necessity in our global ecosystems and they can even be beneficial.

Filled with fascinating and sometimes gory information, full-colour photos, interactive activities, and educational diagrams and charts, this sequel to Buzz about Bees is sure to get under your skin and run through your veins!

Read more about:

    Why bloodsuckers crave blood
    Types of real-life vampires
    Where bloodsuckers live and breed
    Lifecycles of different blood-thirsty creatures
    Dangers and fears of bloodsuckers
    Benefits of vampire creatures—both environmental and medical
    How to protect yourself from nasty bites

Order


Awards


Reviews

    Resource Links Magazine:

    This book provides facts and information regarding bloodsucking animals of our world. They cover everything from birds and mammals to insects. Maps are provided with a breakdown of where these various creatures live. It also gives some facts on parasites of the past that have since become extinct. The authors touch on the purpose and role these types of creatures play in the world’s ecosystems.

    This book would be a great resource for anyone doing a research project on bloodsuckers. It also delves in the the spread of disease, so if anyone is researching how these animals spread infections it would be a good resource for that as well. It is written in an active language that is easy to understand. The authors also provide the phonetic spellings behind some of the terminological words included in the book.


    Review by Sal’s Fiction Addiction (November 17, 2015), online at salsfictionaddiction.blogspot.ca:

    “Many schools have head-lice checks. Head lice are famous for being difficult to eliminate. Once lice move in, the only option you have is to go through a thorough de-lousing ritual. Special shampoos can be used to kill the lice and eggs. Combing with a special comb also helps to get rid of all the eggs … ”

    While we are on the subject of bugs, you might be interested in learning more about those creatures who really do want to ‘suck our blood’ … Ha! Ha! Ha! as Count Dracula on Sesame Street taught us to say!

    “Most bloodsuckers are parasites that feed on their hosts’ blood in order to survive. These bloodthirsty creatures come in many shapes and sizes. Whether they are worm-like leeches, six-legged flying insects, eight-legged arachnids, birds, fish, or small mammals, they have one thing in common: they practise bloodsucking, which is also known as hematophagy … ”

    There is a lot of information here for those readers who have an interest in these vampires, and their many sizes, shapes and species. They can be extremely irritating, as well as actually responsible for death in some cases. They bore into your skin, or the skin of beloved pets, and other animals. They drink blood and they are know to carry diseases, too. Here’s the good and bad news: in order to have healthy and beneficial ecosystems, we need them! They provide untold benefits. So, love or hate them, they are here to stay and we must be thankful that they do a much needed job all around the world. As I have said before, it would take a lot of convincing to make me appreciate that whining
    mosquito, but the authors even make a case for appreciation of their place in the world:

    “Mosquitoes also help keep our ponds clean because, as larvae, they feed on decaying leaves, organic debris, and microorganisms. So next time you eat a fish dinner, see the bottom of a pond, or have a dragonfly land on your shoulder, you can thank a mosquito – it played a small part in what you are experiencing at some point. In these ways, mosquitoes are part of our ecosystem and benefit humans.”

    The authors include an index, a glossary, a list for further reading and a website for a full list of the works used in researching this book that will attract readers who love to know more about our world and the creatures in it.

    If you want to know why they need blood, where they live and who they are, what their lifecycles look like, why we fear them and how they are dangerous to us, their benefits in the natural and medical worlds, and how to keep yourself protected from their bites, you need to read this book!


    “Sink Your Teeth Into the World of Bloodsucking Creatures,” in City Parent TV (Oct 1, 2015), online at cityparent.com/posts/1645-on-the-bookshelf:

    It’s vampire season, as Halloween approaches, and this book sheds light on all sorts of blood sucking creatures. There are trillions of vampires that creep, crawl, swim, buzz and fly among us. Consider the fleas that love your pets as much as you do, the bedbugs that bite you at night, the lampreys that latch onto fish, or the seemingly innocent butterflies that flutter above. Bloodsucking creatures range from highly annoying to deadly but are a necessity in our global ecosystems and they can even be beneficial. This book is dedicated to them, complete with fascinating information, full-colour photos, interactive activities, and educational diagrams and charts. Ages 7 to 12 – Publisher Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $19.95 hardcover


    “The nasty nature of nature” by Brenda Hoerle, in Guelph Mercury (Oct 10, 2015), online at guelphmercury.com/whatson-story/5953415-the-nasty-nature-of-nature/:

    “Bite Into Bloodsuckers” examines the real thing, and other awesome books

    It will soon be time for vampires, zombies and other bloodied characters to swarm our streets in the annual tradition known as Halloween.

    But the real bloodsuckers in nature aren’t as cute — and don’t ring our doorbells in search of candy either.

    St. Catharines author Kari-Lynn Winters explores the who, what, where, how and why of these creatures in “Bite Into Bloodsuckers” (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, $19.99 hardcover).

    We’re not just talking mosquitoes, ticks and the occasional bedbug infestation.

    Everything from North America’s leeches, lamprey eels, Mexico’s vampire bats, South America’s vampire bats and kissing bugs, to Europe’s matrilineal butterflies, Asia’s biting midges and Africa’s red-billed oxpeckers are examined.

    Young readers aged nine to 11 will learn where these creatures live, why these species are so dependent upon hematophagy for their survival as well as how bloodsuckers are helping us today.

    Here are some fascinating facts:

    • A vampire bat uses its teeth to nip away any hairs on its prey, in order to make the perfect bite.
    • The female adult horse fly needs protein in order to reproduce, and where better to find it than in blood.
    • The Spanish madrilenial butterfly craves the blood of dead animals.
    • The kissing bug, native to Brazil, Chile and Peru, bites around its victim’s mouth, which is how it got its name.

    Nasty business, but nature all the same. Close-up photographs, charts and illustrations by Ontario artist Ishta Mercurio add to this latest edition of the Up Close With Animals series.


    Review by Gail Hamilton in Canadian Review of Materials 22:5 (October 2, 2015), online at umanitoba.ca/cm/vol22/no5/biteintobloodsuckers.html:

    3.5/4 stars   internal artIt is estimated that there are over 500 trillion bloodsucking animals living on Earth. These “vampires”, despite their bad reputations, play a vital role in Earth’s ecosystem, and many of them actually help humans. Most bloodsuckers are parasites that need their hosts’ blood in order to survive. Their bites can be benign, merely annoying, or deadly, depending on the type of parasite and the disease it might be carrying. Victims- mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles (and even some insects)- react to the bites in different ways, and even animals of the same species can react in a variety of ways. For example, about 20-25% of humans are not bothered at all by bed bug bites; the others display itchy, red bumps where they have been bitten.

         Bite into Bloodsuckers, part of the “Up Close with Animals” series, is divided into 13 chapters, each of which has catchy- and often humourous- headings and subheadings that entice readers. What reader could resist a section entitled “Sharing in the Blood Bath”, “Sensing a Blood Buffet” or “What Makes a Tick Tick?” Bloodsuckers can be fliers, crawlers or swimmers, and in this book readers will not only learn about many that might already be familiar to them, such as leeches and deer flies, but they will also find out about lesser known bloodsuckers, such as vampire finches, kissing bugs, torpedo snails and lampreys.

         Topics in this book include what attracts a bloodsucker to its host, how the bloodsucker feeds, the effect of its bite, and what humans can do to prevent bloodsuckers from biting them. Helpful hints provide ideas for keeping bloodsuckers at bay both inside and outside the house, and there is even a recipe for a homemade, natural bug repellent and do’s and don’ts for safely removing a tick. One section focuses on the various diseases caused by bloodsucking creatures: typhus, Bubonic plague, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, malaria, encephalitis and West Nile virus, while another highlights the positive uses of “vampires”: using leeches in the field of medicine, kissing bugs to extract blood from zoo animals (thereby eliminating the need for tranquilization of larger or dangerous animals), and mini flea robots whose design was inspired by fleas. These mini robots can detect radiation, land minds and explosives. In addition, Bite into Bloodsuckers features a map of the world, indicating where various bloodsucking animals are found, a section about past parasites from prehistoric times, some examples of life cycles (complete metamorphosis of a mosquito and incomplete metamorphosis of a kissing bug), and a metamorphosis game. Throughout the text are interesting facts and statistics. One surprising fact is that, if all of the mosquitoes alive today were weighed, and all of the humans living today were weighed, the weights would be the about the same.

         Illustrations include wonderful colour photographs and a few charts and maps. The fluent text and attractive layout, combined with the great photos, make Bite into Bloodsuckers a very appealing read that is most worthy of purchase.

    Highly Recommended.

    Gail Hamilton is a former teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.


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