STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

STEM Friday with Annie Biotica


The Case of the Sneezing Popcorn: Annie Biotica Solves Respiratory System Disease Crimes

By Michelle Faulk, PhD
48 pages, ages 10 and up
Enslow Publishers, Inc. 2013

ISBN 978-0-7660-3946-9 Available in library binding, paperback, and eBook versions

 The Case of the Sneezy Popcorn: Annie Biotica Solves Respiratory System Disease Crimes is all about readers experiencing the scientific method that medical teams and scientists use to decipher symptoms and lab test results. That’s why we chose to feature this title for STEM Friday this week.

What do you get when you combine evil microbes trying to harm the respiratory system and a super detective skilled at body system disease investigations? Enter crime-solving super sleuth, Agent Annie Biotica!

A brief description of the respiratory system, supported by a labeled diagram, is followed by five individual cases regarding strep throat, hantavirus, whooping cough, pneumonia, and cold and flu. Readers follow Agent Annie Biotica as she uses logic and the scientific method to solve each case. She searches for clues, identifies microbe suspects, gathers evidence, makes a verdict, and finally she treats the patient accordingly.

An added feature is that there are three more cases at the end of the book that readers can try to solve on their own using the methods featured in the previous chapters.

The Case of the Sneezy Popcorn is just one of the six books in our “Body System Disease Investigations” series written by Michelle Faulk, PhD.  Each book in this series covers life science, body systems, and health in a unique way while supporting the science curriculum. Graphic-style illustrations and character, Annie Biotica, make this series fun and engaging while presenting content that students will find relevant to their own lives.

The Crime: Not having enough engaging STEM books to share with students.

Clues: Some children appear bored. Others are sleeping at their desks.

Suspects: Old, boring science lessons.

Evidence: Doodling on science notebook covers. Loud snoring.

Verdict: Students need fun and engaging STEM books.

Treatment: Body System Disease Investigation books!

Case closed!

About the author: Michelle Faulk has a PhD in virology and microbiology from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She has worked as a medical researcher, teacher, and editor, and is currently an author.


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4 thoughts on “STEM Friday with Annie Biotica

  1. Great review! I love investigative dramas…. Meanwhile, over at Sally’s Bookshelf we’re investigating “Stripes of All Types” by Susan Stockdale – with an interview where Susan reveals just how much research an illustrator does for a nonfiction picture book. Maybe it will inspire artists to investigate science … and science-lovers to try their hand at art.

  2. Archimedes Notebook features a review of Melissa Stewart’s new book, “A Place for Turtles” – and an interview with illustrator Higgins Bond. Another art/science connection at

  3. Great way to capture the readers’ attention!

    I am participating in the same blog tour as Sue for “Stripes of All Types” by Susan Stockdale and “A Place for Turtles” by Melissa Stewart, with a landing pad for all the goodies at

  4. At Booktalking I’m reading A Warmer World by Caroline Arnold