Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Bugs up Close

Bugs up Close

Diane Swanson
Photographer: Paul Davidson
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Kids Can Press, 2007   ISBN: 978-1554531387

The world is full of buzzing, flying, and creeping little creatures. Sometimes they are so small that we don't really know what they are. Others move too fast for us to get a look at them. In this book readers will see some extraordinary insects very up close and personal. They will see how beautiful some of these animals are, how their bodies are arranged, and how they are adapted for the habitats in which they live.

The author begins by looking at the physiology of insects. Readers will learn that these animals have three body parts, an exoskeleton, six pairs of legs, and many insect species also have wings. They have mouthparts which are perfectly suited for their life style, and extraordinary eyes.

The author then goes on to look at other aspects of insect life. For example readers will discover that most insects lay eggs and some even go so far as to protect their eggs and/or their babies. Insects are often the masters of disguise, their bodies being colored and shaped in such a way that they blend in with their environment. Other insects are brightly colored to warn would be predators that they are foul tasting or even poisonous. Some insects go one step further and have some form of defense. Wasps and bees are equipped with stings. and the unassuming earwig can give a predator a nasty nip using the pair of pincers that they have at the end of their abdomen.

The photographs in this fact filled book will astonish readers who have probably never seen such large insects before. Seeing these normally little creatures in such detail will give readers a whole new perspective on these extraordinary animals. They may find that insects are far more complex, interesting, and varied than they thought. On each double page spread, in addition to the engaging main text and a photograph of an insect, the author includes a "Buggy Bit" which provides the reader with further information about the insect shown on those pages.