Written by Penelope Arlon and Tory Gordon-Harris
Vivid and detailed close ups of bugs are part of the fascination for this creative look at the life of bugs. This is a great way to observe without having to gather the actual bugs and a good way to desensitize the squeamish. Many of the photos are at least one hundred times as large as the real creature, so the reader comes face to face – literally – with bug after bug. Several collections of many, many bugs within a group highlight the contrasts within the group. The authors first explore classification of invertebrates, the relative populations of those classifications, and the physical attributes of invertebrates.
Next, they get very specific about insects. What do insects eat? What are their defenses, including camouflage? What is metamorphosis? What’s the difference between a butterfly and a moth? What’s a dung beetle? What are termites really like? What is a honeybee’s life like? Readers then learn about other bugs. From spiders to lice to slugs, the authors show them all. Especially useful are the pages discussing how some bugs are harmful and some bugs actually help people. Australians imported dung beetles to help take care of the poop problem. The brief interview with an entomologist is good draw for kids who might want to study bugs when they grow up.
The volume begins with a link to an online file with even more information. Each page is filled with facts and ideas for reading activities. An excellent glossary is a real plus for the comprehension of a fourth grader. The table of contents and index are also very helpful, considering the huge amount of information touched upon. Kids will love this fun look at bugs.