You are 25% banana by Susie Brooks. Illus. by Josy Bloggs

cover image

What a title to get young grades interested and involved from the start. Non fiction at its best the story of genetics is told with laughter and merriment as basic information is given linking us all through our genes. Each double page brings to light another arresting and astonishing set of facts.

Using the analogy of a recipe book, we are told about our recipes or genes and so 25% of those recipes are shared by humans and banana. These recipes determine what we look like, what colour our hair is, how tall we will be, whether we have two or four legs, or exist on a stalk. Half of our genes come from our dad, and half from mum. Some genes are bossier than others which explains why more humans have brown eyes, and most tigers are orange. The book goes on telling us who and what we are related to. Some, like daffodils, dogs and dung beetles, will surprise while others like chimps may not. Reading through the book, the percentages increase as we get closer to the chimp (99%)  on the second to last page, and along the way percentages continue to surprise. Who would have thought we share 60% of our genes with fruit flies, which explain why they were sent into orbit. Or that we share 80% with cows, another animal like us that relies on milk from its mother when young, or we share 90% of our genes with cats. The very last page shows that every human in the world shares 99.9% of their genes with every other human and it is one gene in every thousand that makes each an individual.

This masterful look at genes and genetics for young readers had me hooked from page one, and there are many active minds out there waiting for information that is relevant, informative, funny and engaging. Illustrations in bright bold colours inform and intrigue as does the layout of each page, drawing the eye to take another look before ht pages are turned.

Susie Brooks travels and develops ideas for her writing that are different and thought provoking. Learn more about her here

Josy Bloggs is an illustrator who specialises in non fiction, and is from the UK. More can be found out about her hereHer particular interest is in layout and design and this is echoed in her distinctive work.

The inside of the back cover retells the information on each page.

Kids will love this book.

Themes: Genetics, Genes, STEM, Relationships, Science.

Fran Knight