I bought this expecting it to be a fun read for a middle school kid who's a reluctant reader. He's actually older than the suggested age range, which is 9-12, but I thought the cool, somewhat scary scenarios would lure him in.
In that respect, I'd give it 5 stars. The layout makes the book very approachable. Some of the pages, such as the spread for "Deserts," contain a numbered list with short entries (easy to read) and a page with single paragraphs with clear headings (also easy to read). The balance of text and illustration is very attractive. It doesn't shout "this is too hard" like some books do.
On the other hand, the subject matter is pretty disjointed, and that's where it loses 2 stars. There are lots of scenarios kids don't really have to think about in real life, such as surviving in the artic or surviving a lion attack, so any scary facts just aren't that troublesome. Those pages are simply fun and interesting to read.
Unfortunately, they've also included problems that children might actually encounter, such as flu pandemics, which would scare the pants off my younger child, even though she'd be able to handle the actual reading level. ("The Hong Kong Flu also killed about one million people...") The book starts off with airplane crashes, and even though they do emphasize that "95 percent of passengers in airplane accidents survive," it's not something I want her to be thinking about when we fly to see Grandma. That means that even though she'd enjoy most of the book, I'm not comfortable letting her read it.
To give the authors credit, they give a nice lesson on hand-washing in the flu section, and who knows, maybe the plane crash info. will save someone's life some day, but the blend of real-life issues and out-there adventure just did not sit well with me. They should have stuck with the lions and sharks!