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BUG OFF! by Jane Yolen


Creepy, Crawly Poems

by Jane Yolen & photographed by Jason Stemple

Age Range: 5 - 10

Pub Date: April 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-59078-862-2
Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Mother and son collaborate once more (Birds of a Feather, 2011, etc.), creating a group of poems and photographs that celebrate some well-known creepy crawlies. 

Fly, praying mantis, butterfly, ants, honey bee, lovebug, daddy longlegs, spider, dragonfly, tick, ladybug and grasshopper each take a spread, the photo opposite a page of text that includes the poem and a paragraph of facts. Most of Yolen’s poems rhyme, and an author’s note encourages readers to create their own poems, with a caution that they choose their words wisely, using the lightning-versus–lightning bug quote from Mark Twain to support this. But some nature-minded readers may see Yolen as not taking her own advice. There is sometimes a disconnect between the beauty of the photographs and the more joking tone and anthropomorphizing of some of the poems. A spider’s tired joke about the World Wide Web is a stark contrast to these lovely lines, for instance: “A flittering cloud, / a crowd / of creeps. / And then, as if / an unseen broom / sweeps / skimmingly / across the sky, / the swarm is gone / in a blink / of an eye.” Stemple’s photographs are the true stars of this book. His macro views show such details as the rainbow colorations on a fly’s wings, the serrations on a grasshopper’s rear legs and the many units that make up the lovebug’s compound eyes.

A bug-themed companion to their previous collaborations. (Poetry. 5-10)