Six big—really big—bugs rise in extreme close-up from the spreads of this uneven but arresting early introduction to insects and arachnids.
Though crustaceans and myriapods (centipedes and millipedes) get introductory mentions, the featured cast just includes a ladybug, a honeybee, a grasshopper, a beetle, a spider and a cockroach. Only the last two really go for the gusto by flinging oversized legs or antennae toward viewers’ faces; the rest are posed at more sedate angles that won’t engender startled shrieks but do, usually, show off overall shapes and body parts more clearly. Along with identifying each bug’s particular species, Keith systematically provides basic facts about its general clan’s distinctive physical features, diet, size and life span. From an informational point of view, the paper engineering is below par: The beetle, bee and ladybug are all billed as having two pairs of wings, but only on the beetle are they modeled as four distinct parts, and on the ladybug they’re not visible at all (there’s a small side illustration instead). Nevertheless, the art’s bright colors and models’ unusual scale will rivet audiences large or small.
A quick buzz through buggy biology, equally suitable for reading or exhibition. (Pop-up/informational picture book. 4-6)