When Heather L. Montgomery sees a rattlesnake flattened on the side of the road, her first instinct is to pick it up and diss...

Review of Something Rotten

Something Rotten by Heather L Montgomery Book Cover

When Heather L. Montgomery sees a rattlesnake flattened on the side of the road, her first instinct is to pick it up and dissect it—she's always wanted to see how a snake's fangs retract when they close their mouths, and it's not exactly safe to poke around in a live reptile's mouth. A wildlife researcher with a special penchant for the animals that litter the roadways, Heather isn't satisfied with dissecting just one snake. Her fascination with roadkill sets her off on a journey from her own backyard and the roadways of the American South to scientists and kids in labs and homes across the globe. 

From biologists who use the corpses of Tasmanian devils to investigate cures for a contagious cancer, to a scientist who discovered a whole new species of bird from a single wing left behind, to a boy rebuilding animal bodies from the bones up, to a restaurant that serves up animal remnants, Heather discovers that death is just the beginning for these creatures. 

This engaging narrative nonfiction is an eye-opening and irreverent look at the dead and dying animals that we pass by without a second thought—as well as a fascinating insight to the scientific research process.

Hardcover176 pages
Expected publication: October 16th 2018 by Bloomsbury Children's Books
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I know, I know. You are thinking, "Roadkill, really? Why do I want to read a book about dead animals? That's gross. I'm an animal lover. I don't want to read about dead animals!"

Well, I'm an animal lover too. I am a huge animal rescue advocate. I've fostered kittens and puppies for multiple local shelters. I donate every month to animal charities near and far. I have multiple fur-kids at home. I'm such a sucker for animals and I hate to think about them hurt or injured, much less dead. I once hit (and killed) a squirrel in my vehicle. I bawled my eyes out...after I went back, got him out of the road and laid him under a tree. (I had visions of his little squirrel friends getting hit too, coming to check on him.) 

Look. I'm a softie. I hate to see anything dead in the road but what if those now dead animals didn't die in vain? 

What if their death can have a purpose? 

That's what this book explores; helping a scientist decipher cancer, tracking wildlife crossings, decreasing species extinction, discovering new species, or feeding the hungry (yes really!). This book is written as a middle-grade, non-fiction. It's well researched and very educational, but it reads like a story. It's educational, but more importantly, entertaining. It's peppered with pictures by illustrator , which are occasionally macabre, but still surprisingly adorable. 

Illustration from Something Rotten by Heather L Montgomery

The only thing I didn't care for is the ridiculous amount of footnotes. Some of them are interesting and expand on the topic at hand. Some of them are simply explanations or definitions. As an adult, they are annoying. As a child, I loved seeing the little numbers and finding the corresponding footnote to learn more. Since this is meant for middle-grade, they will probably be well received. 

Just for the record...it's still filled with grossness. Things I never missed not knowing, like:
"Did you know that fly maggots make a slurch sound? Of course, slurch isn't a real word, but that's onomatopoeia for you."


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About the Author

Heather L. Montgomery

Heather L. Montgomery writes about science and nature for kids. Her subject matter ranges from snake tongues to spider silk to snail poop. With a B.S. in Biology and a M.S. in Environmental Education, Heather's passion for nonfiction comes out in her writing and presentations. When she is not writing, Heather can be found climbing a tree, hiking to a waterfall or paddling a river.
Learn more about her books at http://www.HeatherLMontgomery.com.