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Children's Nonfiction Chemistry

50 Poisonous Questions

A Book With Bite

by (author) Tanya Lloyd Kyi

illustrated by Ross Kinnaird

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2011
Chemistry, How Things Work-Are Made
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2011
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2011
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Feb 2011
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 6
  • Reading age: 9 to 18


It’s a toxic world out there.

Poisonous snakes, toxic herbicides, noxious fumes—poisons in one form or another are all around us. An innocent-looking flower may be lethal, and smog can make it impossible to breathe. Poisons can be the death of us, but they can also cure disease.

The second book in Annick’s 50 Questions series provides answers to many intriguing questions, such as:
• Should you pee on a jellyfish sting? No, douse it with vinegar!
• Why was the Mad Hatter mad? From working with mercury nitrate.
• Can venomous lizards cure diabetes? Yes, a drug used to treat the disease comes from the Gila monster’s venom.

Poison Puzzles at the end of each chapter then test the readers’ knowledge. Young readers who want to avoid paint that kills or leaves that give blisters can explore the fascinating and dangerous world of poisons. And don’t be afraid! The killer cartoons and dead-funny text are venom-free.

About the authors


Tanya Lloyd Kyi has written over fifteen books of fiction and nonfiction for middle-grade and young-adult readers, including many award winners. Her recent titles for Annick Press include Extreme Battlefields: When War Meets the Forces of Nature (2016), DNA Detective (2015), and When the Worst Happens: Extraordinary Stories of Survival (2014). Tanya lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband and two children.


Tanya Lloyd Kyi's profile page

Ross Kinnaird is an illustrator who has worked in London, Sydney, and Hong Kong. He currently lives in Auckland, New Zealand.

Ross Kinnaird's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Just the thing to entice readers seeking intriguing facts.”

School Library Journal, 09/11

“Entertaining and informative and could be used as supplementary classroom material on a variety of biology, environmental or history related topics.”

The Deakin Review of Children’s Literature, 07/11

“A very excellent book for teens that should increase their knowledge by maintaining their interest.” 

Resource Links, 06/11

“Out of a score of 10, I would give this book a 10. It was awesome!”

YES Mag, 06/11

“This book has everything for high reader appeal—gross out factor, easy to browse, funny illustrations, and good information.”

Biblio File, 04/12

“Easy to understand writing and humorous illustrations . . . make 50 Poisonous Questions fun as well as educational. Highly recommended.”

CM Reviews, 05/11

“Will appeal to young adults reading for pleasure or conducting research.”

Library Media Connection, 11/11

Librarian Reviews

50 Poisonous Questions: A Book with Bite

This title, the second in the 50 Questions Series, provides an introduction to the wide range of rather grim, but surprisingly fascinating, poisons that imperil our world.

The volume is divided into eight segments, each of which covers a specific type of poison. “Spikes and Fangs,” “Bugged Out,” “Lethal Leaves” and “Gas Blasts” are some of the diverting chapter headings, covering the respective topics of venoms, toxic insects, deadly plants and gases.

Further sub-sections are created through the use of such compelling questions as “Can Gila monsters cure diabetes?”, “Why was the Mad Hatter mad?” and “Do snails carry weapons?” Intriguing factoids in the form of “Foul Facts” are scattered throughout, and a “Poison Puzzle” acts as a challenging quiz at the end of each chapter.

These engaging devices — plus the sense of humour, compelling information, short readable pieces and catchy headings — make this a pleasure for reading straight through or for casual browsing. The colourful cartoon-style illustrations are simply hilarious and greatly enhance the value of the text.

Award-winning author Tanya Lloyd Kyi combines the science of poisons with other branches of learning such as anthropology, history, medicine, warfare, weather, etc., as they pertain to the subject, making for a thought-provoking read. For serious students, a comprehensive index, a rather limited reading list and a lengthier bibliography are included.

Following on their success with 50 Burning Questions, Ross Kinnaird and Tanya Lloyd Kyi have proved to be a winning team with this second accessible overview on an intriguing topic.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2011. Volume 34 No. 3.

50 Poisonous Questions: A Book with Bite (50 Questions)

A kid-friendly question-and-answer format accompanied by hilarious illustrations makes for an interesting and entertaining look at toxic substances in nature, medicine and industry. Learn about the poisons found in the tiniest ants or in the largest factories on Earth, and learn what to do if you come in contact with some of the most dangerous chemicals in the world.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Fall, 2012.

Other titles by Tanya Lloyd Kyi

Other titles by Ross Kinnaird