CM . . . .
Volume VI Number 20 . . . . June 9, 2000
Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! I want to see bugs!Following the book's opening double page spread, each of the next eight spreads focuses on a common insect and carries a single line of text which, when combined with the line found on the following set of pages, yields rhyming couplets. Using collage, Barner, as illustrator, creates brightly coloured, action-filled illustrations in which the insects are portrayed in a somewhat anthropomorphic fashion. As author, Barner also uses language which contradicts some children's learned negative reaction to insects. For example, the text for spiders reads: "friendly daddy longlegs that never bite." At the book's conclusion, Barner re-illustrates the insects to show their relative sizes, a most useful addition which might disabuse some children of the idea that bees, based on the earlier illustration, can be the size of robins. Unfortunately, Barner labels this spread with the wording, "Actual Size Bugs." Either I live in an area where grasshoppers and Daddy Longlegs all suffer from stunted growth or something happened in the publication process which increased the size of Barner's illustrations for these two insects, which ostensibly are rendered "actual size," seem huge. A concluding chart, which will be useful to budding entomologists, answers the following four questions about the book's insects: "Can it fly? Where does it live? How many legs? Does it sting?" An entertaining and informative book!
Dave Jenkinson teaches courses in children's and adolescent literature in the Faculty fo Education, the University of Manitoba.
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