Intriguing photographs taken through a scanning electron microscope accompany this detective-themed introduction to insects.
Siy (Sneeze, 2007, etc.) begins with her thesis, pointing out that in the insect world there are both good and bad guys. How can we tell the difference? The rest of this lighthearted survey is organized in chapters devoted to true bugs, beetles, butterflies and moths, bees, ants and wasps and, finally, true flies. In lively, informal prose, she describes some typical insect behavior, describing not just the harm they do but also the good. “Could insects be getting a bad rap?” A last chapter suggests that young people interested in insects can collect them without harming them using a digital camera. Kunkel colors his signature photomicrographs to highlight structures shown, and they are stunning. Each image has an informative label that includes its magnification. The design also includes tiny grayscale images that careful observers may be able to identify as housefly, bedbug, ladybird beetle, nasonia wasp and some kind of moth or butterfly. Readers unfamiliar with giant water bugs and water striders, lace bugs, pepper weevils, carrion beetles and other creatures will be bugged by the lack of unmagnified pictures of most of the species shown.
Striking as they are, as mug shots these bug shots don’t work. (Nonfiction. 8-12)