Remember using "GROSS" in the 80’s. I promise it was one of my very favorite words and it was 3 syllables long. Bearport Publishing has a Gross Out Defenses series for K-3 students that is the only source for some of these animals:
- Deadly Poison Dart Frogs by Jennifer Dussling
- Disgusting Hagfish
- Bloody Horned Lizards
But I do have to protest, I don’t find these three gross at all:
- Smelly Skunks
- Tricky Opossums
- Prickly Porcupines
Perhaps it’s because I have actually seen skunks, opossums, and porcupines in the wild that I find their behavior natural. I also think watching a raccoon wash its hands is normal.
I checked the shelves and I have books on these animals for the upper grade students, but I don’t have any of the first three. Uh-oh! Bearport, you aren’t finished. Now you have to go back and make a series for Middle-School students on these animals. I do warn you that our standards of grossness vary. You may even have to increase the grossness beyond this line in Poison Dart Frogs:
"To protect themselves, poison oozes from pores in their skin."
Of course, when I read that passage "ooooooozes" has 8 vowels so students can picture the poison coming out and dangling there in slow motion.
Finally I can walk into the second grade classrooms who study all types of amphibians and reptiles and present them with poison dart frogs. "See," I’d say, "the publishers do know how to write about more than just red-eyed tree frogs." Drat! They finally make a series and I move to middle school. Hello, all you elementary teachers, go ahead and prepare now for these.
Wait! I spent more time with the Tricky Opossums book by Catherine Nichols and I learned more. Oh, yeah! The opposum is R-E-A-L-L-Y gross when it pretends to be dead. You’ll have to read more to find out just what it does. I don’t think I’m going to get as close to an opposum in the future as I might have before reading this title.
Just in case you are running out of ideas, I did find a list of the top 10 Animal Gross-Outs. #10 on the list was giraffes. Do you know what else they do with those 18 inch tongues? <shudder> Since I seldom can resist top 10 lists, I did have to read them all. If the book Disgusting Hagfish expands on what’s on that top ten list, you’re going to have to order it. EEWwwwww. Gross is right.