Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Look out for bugs

Look out for bugs

Jen Prokopowicz
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Craigmore Creations, 2015   ISBN: 978-1940052144

Every time we go outdoors, and sometimes even indoors, we see insects going about their business. Flies sit on windows, bees buzz in flower boxes, grasshoppers leap out of shrubs, and butterflies flit above our heads in parks and gardens. What some people don’t realize is that there are many insects out there that we don’t see, little creatures that “have adapted clever camouflage, helping them match their environment to provide protection from predators.” In this book the author takes us to six habitats so that we can meet some of these hidden insects, and we see how the insects perfectly suit the places where they live.

   First let us enter a forest where the light is dappled. Here fungi grow on fallen logs, leaves litter the ground and shadows offer up hiding places for small creatures. If we look carefully at the forest scene we see some insects, but what are they? Soon enough we find out the names of these hidden forest insects and learn a little about them. There are pill bugs, Buffalo treehoppers (which look like thorns), and dog-day cicadas, which, when they are young, live underground for two to five years. In late July the cicidas emerge and as adults they sing in the tree tops.

   The next habitat that we visit is quite different. This is the marsh, where land and water mingle and where many insects lay their eggs. Dragonflies buzz about looking for their next meal while water striders zip across the water’s surface. Though mayfly nymphs spend up to two years in their watery home, as adults they enjoy their wings for only one day before they die.

   We go on to explore a desert, a creek, a meadow, and then a backyard, where familiar bumblebees, ladybugs, and stink bugs live out their lives.

   For each habitat the author of this fascinating book gives us a paper diorama scene to look at. Then, on the next page, she tells us about the insects that are hiding in the scene, giving us interesting pieces of information about them.

   Children will enjoy trying to find the hidden insects as they explore the habitat scenes, and at the back of the book a “Bug Key” shows them where the insects are hiding in the images. The paper diorama scenes and individual paper insects are remarkable three dimensional works of art that beautifully capture the colors and diversity of insects.