Vultures, Beetles, Slime, and Nature’s Other Decomposers

Anita Sanchez

Gilbert Ford

Clarion Books, 2023

96pp., pbk., RRP $A19.99


Imagine a world in which everything that ever lived remained as is forever, even when it was long dead!  Every plant, every dinosaur, every human…

Thankfully, Mother Nature has ensured that this doesn’t happen and in this fascinating book readers can learn about decomposition – the process of breaking something down into its pieces (like packing away a completed jigsaw) and regardless of the smell that often accompanies things that are rotting,  decomposition is not Nature’s end game, but just another step in the cycle of life. because all those bits are released, ready to combine again and complete new patterns. 

This is a fascinating book that looks at what happens to things when their life is over, and how they are assisted by Nature to decompose – such as sharks and vultures feasting on animal carcasses or worms, maggots and beetles devouring decaying plants – demonstrating that things are rotting away all around us all the time.  There are fascinating excerpts with titles like “Having Lee for Lunch” which could spark conversations about what happens to humans after they die, and Killer Litter which shows the impact of plastic that doesn’t decompose on wildlife. Readers are also encouraged to carry out their own experiments so they can observe and understand the process better, while gaining an even greater appreciation for the miracle that is Mother Nature.

More for independent readers, particularly those with curious minds, this is a fascinating insight that could spark the most intriguing STEM unit you have ever done!  

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