Photographs of a series of cut-paper dioramas form this seek-and-find puzzle book starring hidden creatures in the natural world.
The format of this appealing nature title is straightforward. First, a double-page spread shows a shadowy habitat in which insects, spiders and other creepy-crawlies are hidden. The next spread shows and describes the five creatures in short paragraphs that include interesting facts about their behavior. Roughly stretching from east to west across the United States, the habitats include a forest, marsh, desert, creek, meadow and flower-filled backyard. Except for the backyard view (through a window), the vantage point is ground-level, which viewers will find unusual. True bugs and pill bugs, bees and grasshoppers, scorpions and beetles, and various insects with “fly” in their names are among the creatures shown. One or two may be obvious in the image. After turning the page and seeing the individual illustrations, readers might turn back and discover more, but most are likely to need the “bug key” that concludes this title to find them all. (Figures in the dioramas’ foregrounds are artily out of focus, making discernment difficult.) The author’s point is simple and effectively made: These tiny creatures cleverly conceal themselves by matching their environments. The creatures are recognizable, and the descriptive information is generally accurate though unsourced.
For appreciation rather than information, this is an interesting addition to the environmental shelf. (Picture book. 5-9)