Little Monsters (Dutton, 2011)
Little Monsters: The Creatures That Live on Us and in Us
Did you know that mosquitoes have caused more human deaths than any other creature in history? Or that European nobility used to keep fleas as pets?
Discover the surprising account of the science, history, and culture behind the world's smallest predator: man versus parasite. From the fleas behind the gruesome Black Death to the mosquitoes responsible for the ongoing malaria epidemic, Albert Marrin tells about parasites who at their best have saved limbs and lives, and at their worst, have been responsible for the deaths of billions of people and altered the course of human history. With detailed diagrams and images throughout, this glimpse into the hidden world of parasites exposes the creatures responsible for making our skin crawl—since the beginning of time.
With humor, eloquence, and smart analysis, Marrin (Years of Dust) looks into the surprisingly complex relationship between humans and parasites. While discussing the pests responsible for spreading plague, malaria, and typhus (and human efforts to combat them), he also points out the benefits provided by certain parasites. There’s a definite ick factor at work (one of many b&w photographs gives a closeup view of a leech on a man’s fingertip; another image depicts a Guinea worm emerging from a blister in its host’s foot), but even squeamish readers should appreciate the clear, balanced approach to exploring some of our more unpleasant cohabiters. Ages 9–12