Insects: The Most Fun Bug Book Ever by Sneed B. Collard III – A Review by Rose Cappelli
Did you know that there are close to one million identified insect species on earth, and that scientists believe there are many more we don’t know about yet – maybe as many as 30 million? Imagine discovering that one out of every four living species on Earth is a beetle! These are just a few of the amazing facts you will learn in Sneed B. Collard III’s new book, Insects: The Most Fun Bug Book Ever.
I must admit, insects are not my thing. This topic is not my go-to for a dose of nonfiction reading. Yet, I found myself pouring over the facts and amazing photographs (almost all taken by the author)) in this new offering from Charlesbridge. The conversational tone of this book made it seem like I was sitting down with Sneed over a cup of coffee, discussing old friends. Sneed skillfully covers all the information kids are interested in learning about – where insects live, what they eat, how they move and communicate, and how they protect themselves, to name a few. Collard’s skillful use of the ellipses at the conclusion of many of the chapters provides just the right amount of encouragement to keep reading.
There is plenty of humor sprinkled among the facts that truly makes this book “the most fun book ever” to read about insects. The humor serves to lighten what could be a very serious and dull topic, but also makes the reader think twice and smile.
Over years of evolution, fleas, lice, springtails, and a few other insects
have lost their wings altogether. These poor guys usually have to ride
buses or take taxis to get around. (p. 12)
Caterpillars eat so much and so rapidly that they can destroy a farmer’s
crop faster than you can say, “Please don’t burp at the table.” (p. 16)
Insects contains many of the signposts we have come to expect in nonfiction writing – a table of contents, photos, captions, subheadings, glossary, index, and interesting sidebars. Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of report writing for kids is elaboration, and there are many examples of elaboration through explanation in Insects that can be used to help our budding nonfiction writers. For example, in explaining how insects use chemicals called pheromones for communication, Collard writes:
Ants, for instance, are famous for leaving pheromone trails that lead
the rest of the colony to food sources. Each ant’s body leaves a bit of
pheromone behind so that other ants know where to go. As one food
supply dwindles, fewer ants follow that trail, and the pheromone evaporates.
That way, ants follow only the strongest trails. (p. 18)
Insects: The Most Fun Book Ever will engage young readers and make them curious to observe the insect world first hand. As Collard reminds his readers, when you take the opportunity to observe nature up close, “You’ll start to understand firsthand how all of us – humans and insects alike – fit into this amazing planet we call home.”
Insects: The Most Fun Book Ever is targeted for ages 9 and up.
Rose Cappelli is a literacy consultant, retired reading specialist, and lover of children’s literature. She is the co-author of Mentor Texts, Nonfiction Mentor Texts, and Poetry Mentor Texts, all published by Stenhouse. Rose blogs (occasionally) at www.imaginethepossibilities.wordpress.com. She can be found on Twitter at @RoseCappelli.