For children who collect and those who squirm at the sight of rats, mice and leggedy crawlers this story of how a schoolroom nature collection was organized should offer sympathetic encouragement. Eight-year-old Ellie, happy in the possession of a dog, cat, mouse, a small red eft and a snake, was confused at the nervous distaste of her mother and older sister for the home menagerie. After Ellie terrorizes Lilac, a fellow classmate in grade 3, with a snake, Miss French, the teacher, decides that a safe, centralized collection is wise, both for class discipline and as an incentive to nature study. In the excitement of studying insects and rodents first hand, the squirmers, finally including Lilac, forget their repulsion, and a delightful accident when a nest of baby praying mantises hatches explosively in the schoolroom brings grade three and Ellie some newspaper publicity. Chuckles and a pat on the back for back-pocket collectors.