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ONE MILLION INSECTS by Isabel Thomas Kirkus Star


by Isabel Thomas ; illustrated by Lou Baker-Smith

Pub Date: Sept. 7th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-913519-45-2
Publisher: Welbeck Children's

Nineteen chapters illustrated with colorful, mixed-media art use scientific classification to deliver facts about insects “creeping, crawling, fluttering, and scuttling in every corner of the world.”

The above verbs are in the introduction: a stark white, double-page spread that sports scores of highly varied insects illustrating those actions. The text boldly asserts that insects are both the most successful and the most important animals on Earth, with necessary contributions to nearly every ecosystem. The next chapter’s paragraphs clearly distinguish insects from other animals, including a sidebar explaining why such creatures as spiders and pill bugs are not insects. After another chapter discusses diversity within the insect class, each of the remaining chapters is devoted to facts about a few different insects found within one order. The short paragraphs have intriguing subheadings: “Bugs we eat”; “Life in a bee’s bottom”; “Living glue guns.” The writing style and curated content hold plenty of interest, making the abundant exclamation points unnecessary. Labeled art that is both stylized and anatomically correct—and that even has a somewhat humorous appeal—complements the conversational text. Excellent organization of material includes ample introduction to Linnaean classification in both text and glossary (under “order (scientific)”), allowing for easy browsing. The text includes reasons for endangerment when necessary and suggestions for helping. Kudos for explaining monarch and painted lady butterflies’ generational migrations as akin to a relay race.

Fun, inspiring, and well researched.

(Nonfiction. 8-11)