Funny speculation is made about the common names of 11 insects, after which a few facts are offered.
The text is playful, introducing each insect with a question in bold, dark print, beginning with, “Do dragonflies breathe fire?” After the colorful, cartoonish artwork expands on the theme with visions of treasure chests in sand and children dressed as pirates and knights battling fire-equipped dragonflies, the page turn reveals a larger image of the insect along with a definitive “No!” This is followed by information about the unique way a dragonfly catches its prey. The text is pleasingly consistent in this approach, and it offers a nice little surprise with the final bug—plus additional, accessible notes about insects. Unfortunately, the art is less successful than the text. While care was given to different skin and eye colors for the many children pictured with the bugs, there is an awkwardness in the renderings of the children’s movements, penciled noses, and frequently open, often toothless mouths. Composition and layout tend to produce an uncomfortable feeling of crowding, which in turn makes it hard to linger on any one page. It’s great to have large, fantastical bugs, flies, and beetles on the pages with whimsical questions, but the perspective on the pages that offer factual text makes it hard to know insects’ true relative sizes.
Overall, clever: entomology via etymology. (Informational picture book. 4-8)