Why Do I Sneeze?
Why Do I Sneeze?
Whether you are six or ninety-six, everyone gets snot.
Everyone sneezes, too. But why?
A sticky slime inside your nose, called mucus, protects you when you breathe. Mucus catches anything harmful in the air before you breathe it in. You might know mucus better as snot!
We all poo and grow, and most of us will have, at some time or another, sneezed, bled, drooled or had an itch. These are all ordinary life events that we may just take for granted, never really questioning “why?” we do them or why they happen. Children who read the six books in the “Why Do I?” series, however, will come away with new understandings, especially in terms of how the focal subject matter of each book contributes to a person’s health. As has come to be expected from books in Crabtree series, this title has an opening table of contents and a closing page containing a brief glossary of words highlighted in the text and an index. All books in this series are illustrated with cartoon-like art.
Though “snot” is the hook, Why Do I Sneeze? is really about the process of breathing and, in particular, the role that mucus, aka snot, plays in keeping us healthy. Particularly valuable is a two-page spread labelled “KEEPING OUT GUNK”. To view the diagram of a cross-section of a person’s head and chest, including the nose, mouth, windpipe and lungs, readers must rotate the book 90 degrees. The labeled diagram shows two steps of the air being cleaned before it reaches a person’s lungs. Tyler’s text also examines how the body rids itself of the nasty things trapped by the snot, with one major means being by blowing your nose. Coughs and colds, and their relationship to snot, are also addressed in the text as are allergies. A pair of pages, “What Snot Have You Got?”, identify six possible colours of snot and suggests their meaning in terms of our health. Though Tyler says “Yellow means you are starting to get over your cold”, other sources consulted by the reviewer suggest the opposite to be the case, i.e. yellow indicates the beginning of a cold. The final pair of text pages, “Bogey Basics” (should it have been “Booger”?) contain six items of trivia, including the fact that our noses produce “more than a quart (1 L) of mucous every day” and more than that when we are sick.
Given the “gross” rating of its subject matter, Why Do I Sneeze? should be popular with its intended audience who will come away with a good introductory understanding of snot’s important role in the respiratory system.
Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.