CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 17 . . . .April 13, 2007
Subtitled, The Curious Kid's Guide to Insects, this first book in a new "Lobster Learners Series" endeavors to change negative attitudes towards many insects by showing the useful roles they play in nature. Following a one-page introduction and Word List, each double page spread describes one order in the insect world. A simple definition of the Latin term (e.g. Diptera means 'two wings'), brief general information, several captioned photos and text box inserts comprise each page. Inserts explain habitat (Where are they?), related species (Country Cousin) and the value to nature and humans (Don't Squash That Bug!). A single page encourages the reader to look for various types of insects in specific habitats. A final page lists Other Creepy Crawlies: spiders, centipedes and sow bugs. The book is advertised as being suited to ages 3-8.
Insects form a huge topic for young readers to sort out. Categorizing by orders in this book works well as each is explained clearly and simply. Kids who have no trouble getting their tongues and memories around lengthy dinosaur names will have little difficulty with Coleoptera or Lepidoptera. Many of the photo captions are kid-friendly, too: "Leafhoppers can be as short as a sesame seed or as long as a gummy bear." The color-coded inserts identified by cartoon character symbols help kids to zero in on specific facts. A butterfly symbol is used within the text to highlight scientific language. These terms are listed in the Word List. However, most of them are also defined in context. This redundancy and the complexity of the List both in content and appearance (wordy, and set in quite small type so it all fits on one page) make it rather ineffective for this age. Neither Table of Contents nor Index are included.
Gillian Richardson, who lives in BC, is a freelance writer and former teacher-librarian.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.