Caramel reviews It’s Alive: From Neurons and Narwhals to the Fungus Among Us by Molly Bloom, Marc Sanchez, and Sanden Totten

The book bunnies are fans of Brains On!, a science podcast directed toward young bunnies but, at least in our household, also much appreciated by the older set. When we heard that the amazing Brains On! team, made up of Molly Bloom, Marc Sanchez, and Sanden Totten, had published a science book together, we knew we all had to read it. Today Caramel reviews this book: It’s Alive: From Neurons and Narwhals to the Fungus Among Us. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews the Brains On! book It's Alive: From Neurons and Narwhals to the Fungus Among Us, by Molly Bloom, Marc Sanchez, and Sanden Totten.
Caramel reviews the Brains On! book It’s Alive: From Neurons and Narwhals to the Fungus Among Us, by Molly Bloom, Marc Sanchez, and Sanden Totten.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, this book is right up your alley, right?

Caramel: Yep. It’s full of fun facts, and illustrations are awesome!

S: I know! It is so colorful! So tell me what the general theme of the book is. What is the book about?

C: It’s about science. There are all sorts of facts about all sorts of living things. There is a part about animals, one about plants, one about humans, and another about microorganisms.

S: That sounds cool! So tell me about your favorite animal fact you learned from this book.

C: There are so many, I can’t choose.

S: Give me one or two then…

C: Okay, let me try. I like the Animal Superpowers part a lot.

Caramel is reading the Brains On! book It's Alive: From Neurons and Narwhals to the Fungus Among Us, by Molly Bloom, Marc Sanchez, and Sanden Totten. Here he is checking out the section on Animal Superpowers.
Caramel is reading the Brains On! book It’s Alive: From Neurons and Narwhals to the Fungus Among Us, by Molly Bloom, Marc Sanchez, and Sanden Totten. Here he is checking out the section on Animal Superpowers.

S: That sounds interesting! What kinds of superpowers?

C: There are super-healers for example. Did you know that the axolotl can regrow part of its missing limbs, and even its brain? It is cool, isn’t it?

S: That is really cool, you are right! And that is one cute animal I had not heard about before! Here is a picture from Wikipedia if people want to see one:

An axolotl in captivity, image by th1098, taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axolotl#/media/File:AxolotlBE.jpg
An axolotl in captivity, image by th1098, taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axolotl#/media/File:AxolotlBE.jpg

S: So would you like to have such a super power, Caramel?

C: Yes, being able to regrow limbs would be awesome!

S: So then how about the plants? Tell me a favorite fact you learned from this book about plants.

C: Shall we visit the Tree Hall of Fame?

S: Okay…

C: The tallest tree is a redwood tree named Hyperion. It is 380 ft tall. That is taller than the Statue of Liberty!

S: Wow! That is tall!

C: It is in Redwood National Park, in California, but the scientists are keeping its exact location secret.

Caramel is reading the Brains On! book It's Alive: From Neurons and Narwhals to the Fungus Among Us, by Molly Bloom, Marc Sanchez, and Sanden Totten. Here he is looking at the section on "the rose that went to space".
Caramel is reading the Brains On! book It’s Alive: From Neurons and Narwhals to the Fungus Among Us, by Molly Bloom, Marc Sanchez, and Sanden Totten. Here he is looking at the section on “the rose that went to space”.

S: The book sounds really packed full of interesting facts Caramel. Just perfect for you!

C: Yep. Exactly. I recommend that you read it too.

S: Yes, I will definitely do that after this review. I can’t wait!

C: But you have to wait! Because I need to tell you about the Mega Matchups!

S: What’s that?

C: There are parts in the book where they compare two things. Like there is one where they pit dogs against cats. I think there is one in each part. Wait, there is the octopuses vs the dolphins. So that is at least two in animals. And then there is another matching porcupine caribou against monarch butterflies.

S: Wait. How do those two compare? Why are they even pitted against one another?

C: It seems random till you read it. These are two creatures that are “long-distance travelers that travel thousands of miles without a map or a compass.”

S: I see. This matchup idea is like the Smash-Boom-Best segment the Brains On! folks used to do sometimes in their podcasts. Did you know that that eventually became its own podcast?

C: No I didn’t know that. Then again I think Marshmallow listened to an episode for her class one time.

S: Yes, I remember. It was pizza vs tacos I think.

C: I think pizza wins for me!

S: I think they both have their time and place.

C: True. Wait, here is another matchup. The durian vs the corpse flower. They’re both stinky! A corpse flower apparently smells like, well, a corpse.

S: I know durian. I ate durian ice cream once. Did you know that?

C: Nope.

S: It tasted like vanilla ice cream, but with a terribly strong garlicky, or onion-y aftertaste.

C: That does not sound too appetizing.

S: I know.

Caramel is reading the Brains On! book It's Alive: From Neurons and Narwhals to the Fungus Among Us, by Molly Bloom, Marc Sanchez, and Sanden Totten. Here he is looking over the "Mega Matchup: Tardigrade vs. Slime Mold".
Caramel is reading the Brains On! book It’s Alive: From Neurons and Narwhals to the Fungus Among Us, by Molly Bloom, Marc Sanchez, and Sanden Totten. Here he is looking over the “Mega Matchup: Tardigrade vs. Slime Mold”.

S: So this review is already quite long. Let us wrap it up. What three words would you use to describe this book to someone who is interested in learning about it?

C: Factful, interesting, and very colorful.

S: I agree with all of those Caramel, even before I got to read it fully. I think I’d also add “very fun” to the list.

C: Yes, it is really fun and funny too.

S: Great! So we are done. What do you say to our readers?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel loved reading the Brains On! book It's Alive: From Neurons and Narwhals to the Fungus Among Us, by Molly Bloom, Marc Sanchez, and Sanden Totten, and cannot wait to share all his new facts with friends and family.
Caramel loved reading the Brains On! book It’s Alive: From Neurons and Narwhals to the Fungus Among Us, by Molly Bloom, Marc Sanchez, and Sanden Totten, and cannot wait to share all his new facts with friends and family.

Caramel reviews The Science of Acne and Warts: The Itchy Truth About Skin by Alex Woolf

Caramel has recently been reviewing a series of books about the human body for the book bunnies blog. So far he has reviewed  The Science of Snot and Phlegm: The Slimy Truth about Breathing by Fiona MacDonaldThe Science of Scabs and Pus: The Sticky Truth About Blood by Ian Graham, and The Science of Poop and Farts: The Smelly Truth About Digestion by Alex Woolf. Today he is talking about the fourth and last book in the series: The Science of Acne and Warts: The Itchy Truth About Skin, written by Alex Woolf. As usual, Sprinkles is asking questions and taking notes.

Caramel reviews The Science of Acne and Warts: The Itchy Truth About Skin by Alex Woolf.
Caramel reviews The Science of Acne and Warts: The Itchy Truth About Skin by Alex Woolf.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, tell us about this book.

Caramel: This is a book about human skin. You can learn everything about skin by reading it.

S: So tell me something you learned then.

C: I learned that the layers of skin are the epidermis, the dermis, and the very bottom one is subcutis. I also learned how the body creates blood clots.

S: Wait, blood clots were in The Science of Scabs and Pus: The Sticky Truth About Blood by Ian Graham, too, right?

C: Yes.

S: So why do they show up here too?

C: Because when your skin is wounded, and it is trying to repair itself, you make a blood clot.

S: Hmm, so it is about blood but also about the skin, I see. So what else is there in this book?

C: There are pages about fungal infections, warts, acne, skin rashes, …

S: Hmm, those all sound quite irritating at the very least. Nobody likes them.

C: True, but they are also very interesting.

S: I guess that means the author is doing a good job keeping things engaging.

C: Yeah.

Caramel is reading The Science of Acne and Warts: The Itchy Truth About Skin by Alex Woolf.
Caramel is reading The Science of Acne and Warts: The Itchy Truth About Skin by Alex Woolf.

S: What is the most interesting thing you learned from the book?

C: Let me see. There are a lot of interesting things in here. Here is one: Did you know that some of the dust at home is dead skin cells? People lose up to 30,000-40,000 dead skin cells every day. That adds up to 9 pounds of skin every year.

S: Wow! That is amazing!

C: Here is another interesting fact: There is a skin condition, a hive called dermographism, where you write on your own skin with your finger. It stays there as a rash for fifteen minutes.

S: That is so interesting. I had never heard of it before. Here is the Wikipedia article about it if our readers want to learn more.

C: Here is another strange fact. There is a mouse in Africa, the African spiny mouse, and it loses its skin when a predator catches it. Its skin just peels off and the mouse can run away. And it can regenerate new skin and is safe from the predator.

S: That is a very interesting defense mechanism Caramel. Okay, let us wrap this up so you can go on ahead and reread the book if you want to. But before we do that, tell me your three words to describe this book.

C: Interesting, helpful, and colorful.

S: Those work! Okay and as your last words to wrap things up?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading The Science of Acne and Warts: The Itchy Truth About Skin by Alex Woolf, and learned a lot.
Caramel enjoyed reading The Science of Acne and Warts: The Itchy Truth About Skin by Alex Woolf, and learned a lot.

Caramel reviews The Science of Poop and Farts: The Smelly Truth About Digestion by Alex Woolf

Caramel loves reading books about facts. A short while ago he got his paws on a series of four books about the human body, and he has already reviewed The Science of Snot and Phlegm: The Slimy Truth about Breathing by Fiona MacDonald and The Science of Scabs and Pus: The Sticky Truth About Blood by Ian Graham for the book bunnies blog. Today he reviews the third book he read from this series: The Science of Poop and Fart: The Smelly Truth About Digestion, written by Alex Woolf. As usual, Sprinkles is asking questions and taking notes.

Caramel reviews The Science of Poop and Farts: The Smelly Truth About Digestion by Alex Woolf.
Caramel reviews The Science of Poop and Farts: The Smelly Truth About Digestion by Alex Woolf.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, tell me about this book with the funny title. Is it really about pooping and farting?

Caramel: It is!

S: As soon as I saw the title, I knew you would be curious about it. You love jokes about poop and fart. So it worked, right? It made you want to read the book?

C: Yes. It did. And I learned a lot of new things about digestion. Did you know that some ancient Romans rinsed their mouths with pee? To get whiter teeth?

S: Ugh, that sounds pretty disgusting. Does it work?

C: I don’t know. But it is pretty disgusting. I also learned that hippos spin their tail to launch their poop under water.

Caramel is reading The Science of Poop and Farts: The Smelly Truth About Digestion by Alex Woolf.
Caramel is reading The Science of Poop and Farts: The Smelly Truth About Digestion by Alex Woolf.

S: Hmm, so the book is full of weird facts about pee, poop, and, obvious from the title, farts. Does it also tell you about the digestive system more generally?

C: Not quite. It is full of stuff about poop though. Here are some chapter titles: “How do we produce poop?”, “What is pee?”, “What are farts?”, “What are burps?”, “What is saliva?”, “What are diarrhea and vomiting?”, “What is constipation?”, “Digestive problems”, “A healthy diet”, “Can poop be useful?”, “What happens to poop?”

S: Okay, these all sound quite fascinating. I think you learned a lot about the general stuff on the digestive system from Survive! Inside the Human Body: The Digestive System by Hyun-Dong Han already, and this book gives you a lot more weird but true facts about digestion in bite-size., digestible chunks.

C: Yes! Did you know that the tropical pitcher plant has tube-shaped leaves that are used as toilets by some animals? The poop provides the plant with lots of nutrition.

S: I seem to remember seeing that in a documentary. I guess the poop is full of food waste, so there are nutrients in it that the plant can use. What an interesting way to recycle!

C: Oh, and if you eat beans, your fart smells.

S: Yes, I knew that. Also red cabbage.

C: I also learned that some dogs, if they cannot burp, they can die. So to treat the condition, they insert a flexible rubber tube down their throat.

S: Oh that sounds kind of painful, but it is better than dying.

C: Yes.

S: Okay, I can see you want to read the book again and go over these very interesting facts all over again. So let us try and wrap up.

C: Yes, but did you know that if a llama feels threatened, it will spit, and it can spit about three meters away?

S: I knew llamas could spit, but that is a long way to spit! Do you remember the llama we met way back in Big Bear Lake?

C: Yes, he did not spit on us though, thankfully. And he really seemed to know when we were taking his picture.

S: Yes, I remember. He was almost posing for us. Okay, then. Give me your three words for this book.

C: Interesting, colorful, and informative.

S: Those work! I agree. I too learned a lot reading it. So what do you want to say to our readers?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading The Science of Poop and Farts: The Smelly Truth About Digestion by Alex Woolf, and recommends it to other little bunnies who want to learn more about poop and fart and other funny (and yet very useful) things our digestive systems do.
Caramel enjoyed reading The Science of Poop and Farts: The Smelly Truth About Digestion by Alex Woolf, and recommends it to other little bunnies who want to learn more about poop and fart and other funny (and yet very useful) things our digestive systems do.

Caramel reviews The Science of Scabs and Pus: The Sticky Truth About Blood by Ian Graham

A few weeks ago, Caramel got his paws on a set of four books about the human body, each focusing on one major system. Last week he reviewed the first one he read in the series: The Science of Snot and Phlegm: The Slimy Truth about Breathing written by Fiona MacDonald. Today he reviews the next one: The Science of Scabs and Pus: The Sticky Truth About Blood, written by Ian Graham. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews The Science of Scabs and Pus: The Sticky Truth About Blood by Ian Graham.
Caramel reviews The Science of Scabs and Pus: The Sticky Truth About Blood by Ian Graham.

Sprinkles: Please tell us about this book Caramel. What is it about?

Caramel: It is about scabs and pus, as you can tell from the title. And those are pretty interesting I think. It also talks about the heart and the blood system. They are not the same thing as scabs and pus but definitely useful.

S: Why do you think they are in the same book? The subtitle of the book is “The Sticky Truth About Blood”. And so it makes sense that it would be about blood and the heart and the circulatory system in general. How do scabs and pus come in?

C: Scabs happen when you have a cut or a wound and the scab is made by your blood cells to stop the bleeding. And underneath the scab, the skin tries to heal itself.

S: So scabs are made by your blood! That is cool, isn’t it?

C: I guess so. It is interesting. But pus on the other hand is pretty disgusting.

S: Okay, tell me about that. What is pus?

C: Pus is made up of dead blood cells, white blood cells and bacteria.

S: Are all of them dead?

C: Yep. Or almost dead.

S: So what is the point of it?

C: To get rid of the bacteria so you don’t get infected. You have pus come out of the wound.

S: So the body is trying to clean itself?

C: Yes. But it also means that your wound is not clean. It is a sign of infection.

S: That sounds bad.

C: Yes. Very bad.

Caramel is reading about the heart in The Science of Scabs and Pus: The Sticky Truth About Blood by Ian Graham.
Caramel is reading about the heart in The Science of Scabs and Pus: The Sticky Truth About Blood by Ian Graham.

S: A while ago you reviewed another book about the circulatory system. Do you remember?

C: Yes! It was from the Survive! series: Survive! Inside the Human Body: The Circulatory System.

S: So you already know quite a lot about the circulatory system. Did you learn new things from this book?

C: Yes! There is a lot of new information here. I learned some new things about the heart which I did not know before. There is also a whole two-page section on hemophilia and another two pages on leukemia. I did not know about those.

S: Hmm, so what are they?

C: They are both types of blood diseases. Hemophilia is when the person cannot make scabs. Their blood does not clot. And did you know that boys and men are more likely to get hemophilia than girls and women?

S: Yes, I knew that I think. It has something to do with the X chromosome. Most girls and women have two X chromosomes so they are less likely to inherit an X chromosome that gives them the disease. But most boys and men have only one X chromosome, so if that one has the mutation causing the disease, then the person gets it.

C: That is a bit confusing.

S: Yes, I agree. And then there is leukemia. What can you tell me about that?

C: Leukemia is when the bone marrow makes white blood cells that don’t work properly. The word “leukemia” comes from the words for white and blood. I did not know that before.

S: I didn’t know that either. And you know about white blood cells, too?

C: Yes. I learned about them from watching Cells at Work!

S: Yes, that show was quite interesting and taught us a lot, didn’t it?

C: Yes, though it was a bit too violent. The white blood cells and all the other immune cells sliced and diced enemies and it was a little too much.

S: I agree. But we still learned a lot. Okay, let us wrap up this review with your three words for the book.

C: Informative, colorful, and interesting.

S: Those are all good words Caramel! So you would recommend this to other little bunnies interested in learning about scabs and pus?

C: Yes, definitely.

S: And what else would you recommend our readers do?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading The Science of Scabs and Pus: The Sticky Truth About Blood by Ian Graham, and is looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
Caramel enjoyed reading The Science of Scabs and Pus: The Sticky Truth About Blood by Ian Graham, and is looking forward to reading the next book in the series.