Review Detail

Middle Grade Non-Fiction 174
A useful insect handbook
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Learning Value
What worked:
Obviously, this book is about insects and the author indicates there are over 1.3 million of them around the world. The book is divided into four main sections by habitat: Cities and towns, countryside, wetlands, and forests. Each of these sections is formatted similarly. They begin with large pictures, a one-page general description including reproduction, and then two pages with more details. Other pages show the metamorphosis of each insect, the food they eat, and insects they might be mistaken for. The final page of each section displays a labeled drawing of the insect and highlights the wings, antenna, thorax, and eyes. These body parts are keys to identifying the various insects.
The author is also the illustrator and she’s drawn colorful illustrations to fill almost every page. In addition to the sketches mentioned in the previous paragraph, the author illustrates other areas of interest. Most of the insects will be fairly recognizable to young readers but the book includes more unusual examples. A Hercules Beetle is around seven inches long, other insects give off odors or are toxic, and some insects resemble other animals. Several pages toward the end offer suggestions for identifying insects and less common information about select examples. There are different kinds of metamorphosis, ways to communicate, methods of camouflage, and adaptations for self-defense.
What didn’t work as well:
The repetitive format makes the book easy to navigate but it can become more tedious if reading the book straight through. It might be better to use the book as a handbook or reference guide to make the best use of the large amount of information.
The final verdict:
The book doesn’t overwhelm readers with overly detailed information so it’s easily accessible. The abundant illustrations add to the appeal as readers encounter a blend of familiar and uncommon insects. Overall, I recommend you give this book a shot.
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