ITCH! A Book Worth the Scratch

Lynn: Itch! Yikes, the very word makes me want to scratch! What makes us itch and why? Here to answer questions every child has about this irritating phenomenon is Itch! Everything You Didn’t Want to Know About What Makes You Scratch (2017) by Anita Sanchez. I’ve been itching to get my hands on this fall book ever since I learned about it, and it definitely comes up to scratch.

Itch!: Everything You Didn't Want to Know About What Makes You Scratch by Anita SanchezSanchez starts her lively book with a quick explanation of our body’s largest organ: our skin. She then moves on to a who’s who (or what’s what) of the most common itchy things we humans might encounter. Chapters include: lice, fleas, plants, mosquitoes, tarantulas, fungus, and bedbugs. Each chapter explains the what, why, and how of each itchy element. Chatty and very informative, the book is well-researched, clearly written, and dispels a lot of myths. Recurring sections in each chapter include “Avoid the Itch” and “Sooth the Itch,” with nontoxic suggestions for dealing with the cause and effects of encounters with irritants.

Kids will learn a lot and be highly entertained at the same time. Gilbert Ford’s comic-style illustrations add to the irreverent fun. The book is packed with did-you-know facts that readers will delight in sharing. Extensive back matter completes this high-interest read. Sanchez concludes her examination with a fascinating chapter titled, “Is There Anything Good about Itching?” and reviews some current research and new thinking on the subject. So before you clean out that plant with the three shiny leaves in your garden, add this to your collection.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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