Today we're excited to spotlight

ICK!: Delightfully Disgusting Animal Dinners, Dwellings, and Animal Defenses

 by Melissa Stewart.

 Read on for more about Melissa and her book, an guest post, plus an giveaway! 




Meet Melissa Stewart!


Melissa Stewart has written more than 180 science books for children, including the ALA Notable Feathers: Not Just for Flying, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen; the SCBWI Golden Kite Honor title Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs, illustrated by Stephanie Laberis; and Can an Aardvark Bark?, illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Steve Jenkins. Her most recent title is Ick! Delightfully Disgusting Animal Dinners, Dwellings, and Defenses. Melissa maintains the award-winning blog Celebrate Science and serves on the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators board of advisors. Her highly-regarded website features a rich array of nonfiction writing resources.


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Meet ICK!: Delightfully Disgusting Animal Dinners, Dwellings, and Animal Defenses!

Animals--they're cute and fluffy, cuddly and puffy, and ... sometimes downright disgusting. Get ready to be totally grossed out as you discover the incredibly icky ways animals eat, make their homes, and defend themselves.

From award-winning author Melissa Stewart comes the grossest journey through the animal world you'll ever take. From ants to zebras, get ready to discover some seriously strange animal behaviors. Slurp up soupy insides with houseflies, spit sticky saliva to build nests with birds, and fend off predators with poop-flinging caterpillars and farting snakes. And that's just the tip of the dung pile! These yucky habits may seem surprising to us, but they're totally normal for these animals. In fact, their survival depends on them.

Snappy text, incredible photography, and more cool features add to the learning fun. Ready to chew some fingernails with cockroaches? Dive into the digusting world of animals!



AmazonB & N * Indiebound





~ Guest Post ~



Melissa’s Inspiration Behind Ick! Delightfully Disgusting Animal Dinners, Dwellings, and Defenses

One of my favorite icky examples is the bombardier beetle—an insect that blasts enemies with a scalding spray that bursts out its butt. I first observed the insect in action during a class I took at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, many years ago.



In March 2018, an article in Science News led me to an amazing video of a Japanese common toad vomiting an Asian bombardier beetle drenched with gooey mucus. For 88 minutes, the tenacious insect fought for its life by blasting the toad’s insides with nasty, sizzling-hot spray. Finally, the toad couldn’t take it anymore and spewed its supper. After a brief rest, the slime-covered beetle slowly crawled away.


You know you’ve chosen one of the world’s best professions when watching something so weird and wonderful is a legitimate part of your job!

Melissa’s Top 10 Icky Animal Facts from Ick! Delightfully Disgusting Animal Dinners, Dwellings, and Defenses


  1. At mating time, white-nest swiftlets spend hours building a nest with threads of sticky saliva. As the spit dries, it forms a snug pocket that’s more than strong enough to hold two chicks until they’re old enough to survive on their own.


  1. Would you want to live inside a rotting whale carcass? You would if you were a bone-eating snot flower worm. They spend most of their lives attached to a whalebone.


  1. Silver-spotted skipper caterpillars are eating-growing machines. Day and night, they eat and poop, eat and poop. If all their stinky scat piled up in one spot . . .. Pee-eeew! The little critters would be easy targets for hungry birds. Luckily, they blast their frass out their butts, propelling the poopy pellets more than 5 feet through the air.


  1. To stay safe from hungry hunters, a young Komodo dragon rolls in its own poop. The awful odor makes its enemies lose their appetite. 


  1. If something startles a turkey vulture while it’s eating, the bird upchucks its meal—sometimes right into the carcass. Vomiting its vittles decreases the vulture’s body weight, so it can take flight quickly.


  1. When a tiny beaded lacewing larva feels the need to feed, it points its rear end at the head of a large, tasty termite and lets one rip. That’s right—it farts! The toxic toot stuns the termite, giving the lacewing time to subdue its prey.


  1. Before a panda cub can eat solid food, it needs to dine on its mom’s dung. Why eat poop? Because it’s full of bacteria the little one needs to digest bamboo.   A mother panda eats poop, too. By swallowing her baby’s wastes, she keeps it safe from predators that could sniff a whiff of the scat’s smelly scent.  


  1. When northern fulmar parents fly off in search of fish, their chick must fend for itself. Luckily, the baby bird is anything but helpless. When a hungry predator gets too close, the chick opens its beak wide and showers the attacker with a stream of stinky spew. It can fire half a dozen blasts in quick succession and hit a target up to 6 feet away.


  1. Many butterflies dine on sugary flower nectar, but others prefer mud, blood, tears, or sweat. A few even sip juices from animal dung or rotting carcasses. 


  1. Red-billed oxpeckers sit on a rhinoceros’s back and devour ticks bursting with blood. If ticks are in short supply, the little birds climb into the rhino’s ears and nibble on earwax. They also dine on spit, snot, and dandruff. 







By: Melissa Stewart

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Release Date: June 23rd, 2020






One winner will receive a copy of ICK! (Melissa Stewart) ~ (US Only)


*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*   


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