Photography just doesn’t get more “up close and personal” than the buggy images in this oversized album.
Matched to hyperbolic commentary (“Not only that, [praying mantises] eat their prey alive. Gross!”), the pictures look like jumbles to the naked eye, but don one of the two accompanying pairs of cardboard glasses, and 21 kinds of insects, arachnids, scorpions and related creepy crawlies—most much, much larger than life size—will swim into unexpectedly close focus seemingly handspans above the page. These “phantograms” not only do standard 3D photos one better in appearing to be much higher and deeper, but they feature both multiple apparent levels (rather than the usual two) and unusually sharp fine detail to boot. Along with memorable visuals, the information about each type of critter’s physical features, geographic distribution, life cycles and diets can be found elsewhere, but they are seldom imparted with such relish: “Poop and vomit eaters—aren’t you glad you’re not a cricket?” A detailed description of the authors’ photographic methods and a closing “More Fun with 3-D” spread of paired insect photos, which can be viewed in stereo through two rolled up pieces of paper, provide splendid lagniappes for this face-plant into the realm of the many-legged.
A crowd-pleasing follow up to Eye-Popping 3-D Pets (2009) if ever there was one, for young biologists and thrill-seeking browsers alike. (Informational novelty item. 7-10)