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ARC Reiew: Kids’ Nonfiction Books for January & February 2023: Darwin’s Super-Pooping Worm Spectacular and Destiny Finds Her Way

Darwin’s Super-Pooping Worm Spectacular by Polly Owen

Publication Date: January 3, 2023


Learn the funny and fascinating story of Charles Darwin and the groundbreaking discoveries his love of the humble worms led to in this hilarious illustrated book.

Charles Darwin is widely known for his “Origin of Species” book, yet Darwin had another great love, and that was for worms.

Told for the first time for children, this is the silly and fascinating true story of how Charles Darwin came to discover that the humble earthworm is the most important species on our planet.

Darwin suspected worms were special but his scientist friends laughed at him. In a quest to find out the worms’ special talent, Darwin played the bassoon to the worms to see if they could hear, laid out a picnic treasure hunt for them to see how well they could smell, among many other bizarre but entirely true experiments.

But so far Darwin didn’t find anything extra special about worms. Until, one day he realized that worms do have a superpower. They POO! Without their life sustaining, nutrient rich poo, there would be no plants and no animals on earth. 

Darwin’s 40 years studying worms is still essential to our understanding of worms today, and ever since, scientists have taken him VERY seriously, and never again laughed at his love of worms. 

Told in a humorous and engaging way with non-fiction informationon each page to help educate alongside the story, curious minds will love this fact-filled, laugh-out-loud title.

The story of Darwin and the worms not only centers around the perennially brilliant subject of poo, it teaches children about a key historic figure, the food cycle and deductive scientific thinking. It is also a heartwarming story of the triumph of a zany underdog who won’t let bullies get in the way of his love for worms.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was super cute and my 3rd grader loved it and found it hilarious. (It has that universal kid appeal of talking about poop.) I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of Darwin’s obsession with worms before.

The story was engaging and told with maximum humor. The illustrations were cute and humorous and matched the text perfectly. They also added quite a bit to the story.

I would definitely recommend this to kids in the 6-12 range who are interested in science.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – Wide Eyed Editions for providing an early copy for review.

Destiny Finds Her Way: How a Rescued Baby Sloth Learned to Be Wild by Margarita Engle

Publication Date: February 7, 2023


Explore the Costa Rican rainforest with Destiny, a rescued orphan baby sloth who must learn to return to the wild, in this heartwarming true story from Newbery Honor winner Margarita Engle.

Destiny must learn to be strong and confident after she loses the use of one of her eyes. Without her mother to protect her or teach her, Destiny is found and taken to a rescue center in Costa Rica. The little sloth soon befriends other orphaned sloths. Her poor eyesight, however, makes it hard for her to keep her balance. Eventually Destiny begins to use all of her senses to explore the world around her. But can she learn to climb? Can she master the other skills she needs to survive on her own? And will Destiny be brave enough to return to her wild, forest home?

Join award-winning author Margarita Engle and photographer Sam Trull as they introduce you to the world of sloths in this inspiring story about overcoming obstacles and believing in yourself.

For more true animal stories of rescue, friendship, and facing challenges, check out these National Geographic Kids picture books:

Little Larry Goes to School
A Leap for Legadema
Natumi Takes the Lead
A Friend for Lakota
Jimmy the Joey

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This short book is packed full of information about sloths and what happens to those who have been rescued and are being rehabilitated. The photos on each page are gorgeous and show the sloths’ personalities and activities.

I look forward to reading this with my 3rd grader. He is really into animals right now and I think he will enjoy learning about this.

The text is at an appropriate reading level for my 3rd grader and he should be able to read it himself. The layout of each page is attractive, with photos and text arranged in an aesthetically pleasing and easy to read manner that draws the eye around the page.

I would recommend this to any kid who loves animals or is interested in animal rescue. It would be great in an elementary school library or classroom library.

My kiddo did in fact really enjoy reading this one. He even chose to read most of it aloud (after bargaining for reading every other page while I read the rest) and was really into the story. He found all the sloth pictures very cute.

*Thanks to NetGalley and National Geographic Kids for providing an e-arc for review.


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