Featuring a handful of animals, including a cat who implores readers to explore the insects and plants around them, this educational book dives quickly into descriptions of common and not-so-common crawling creatures—carpenter bees and their wood-boring habits, grasshoppers, wolf spiders, walking sticks and even predatory lizards. There are also discussions on the effects of pesticides on insects, dying bee colonies, how bugs help pollinate plants, butterfly coloration and more—overall, a well-rounded look at flora-related fauna. Donaho’s debut children’s book boasts clear, brightly colored photos that immerse readers in the insects’ habitats. Vibrant and engaging, they add a special touch. The prose, however, may be a bit too advanced for younger children, who will nonetheless enjoy the pictures of bugs; accompanied by an adult, grade schoolers will still learn a great deal. Easy questions located on the photo pages mesh nicely with the more advanced writing on the text pages. The only real weak spots are the bookending quotes from various animals (ranging from an exotic primate to an ordinary squirrel) that don’t add much: “Wow! Did you see all those bugs?” “Yes, and all we had to do was look!” While children will love the animal pictures, more insect-related photos interspersed among the text would have been a welcome addition. The book also offers tips on how to look for insects in flowers in readers’ own backyards—a nice inclusion sure to inspire some afternoon exploring.
One part education and one part entertainment, this vibrant book will delight readers of all ages, from bug beginners to almost-entomologists.