Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Bugs: A Stunning Pop-up Look at Insects, Spiders, and Other Creepy-Crawlies

Bugs: A Stunning Pop-up Look at Insects, Spiders, and Other Creepy-Crawlies

George McGavin
Illustrator:  Jim Kay 
Nonfiction novelty book
For ages 7 to 10
Candlewick Press, 2013   ISBN: 978-0763667627

George McGavin is an entomologist, a scientist who studies insects and their relatives. He has traveled around the world to learn about these small animals, and has found many new ones that no one has recorded seeing before. Hundreds of thousands of species have been seen, described, and given names, but there are millions more that still need to be discovered.

   Insects belong to the arthropod family. Other members of this family include scorpions, crabs, and centipedes. All of the animals that belong to this family have many jointed legs and they have an exoskeleton (external skeleton) instead of an internal one like mammals, fish, birds, and reptiles.

   Insects are the largest group in the arthropod family and they all have certain characteristics. They all have three body parts, six legs, and wings. A tiny fruit fly has this body plan, and so does a large Hercules beetle.

   Though arthropods look nothing like us, they have to be able to do certain things: to protect themselves, breathe, eat, reproduce, and move around. They have to be able to sense the world around them, and they also need to have the ability to adapt if their environment changes. Arthropods do all of these things and have developed bodies that have evolved in many remarkable ways.

   Insects and their relatives are found in almost every environment on the plant, including inside the bodies of other animals. Though some of them are pests and cause disease, many others are essential for our planet’s wellbeing. Without them many plants would not get pollinated, dead bodies would not be decomposed as fast, and we would not have honey, silk and other products that arthropods make.

   This gorgeous book is presented in such a way that young readers learn a great deal about arthropods, and at the same time they get to look through a novelty title that is a joy to explore. There are mini books to open, pop-ups to examine, tabs to pull, and flaps to lift. Readers will feel as if they are in the field, alongside the author, learning about arthropods, making notes, creating drawings, and coming face to face with wasps, butterflies, scorpions and other creatures.