The illustrations are a feast for bug lovers’ eyes, but the text could be so much more.
The opening page tells readers that bugs sing day and night, loudly and softly, and that they should sing along. Turn the page, and the bugs get up-close and personal, the detail wowing readers, though they are a simplified version of lifelike. Each double-page spread is devoted to one insect and its sound, a sentence telling the name of the creature and what it does, followed by the sound the bug makes—in a huge display type that spreads across and fills the pages. “Field Crickets sing from beneath leaves. CHIRP CHIRP CHIRP.” Mole crickets call “dirt-dirt-dirt,” while a tiger moth emits a high-pitched “SQUEAKA.” Not all the sounds are particularly identifiable, however: The bumblebee and cicada have the same sound—zzzzzz—and saying that tree crickets “ring like a telephone” is not helpful for modern children used to an infinite variety of ring tones. The most serious flaw of the text, however, is its failure to provide a why or how for the bugs’ sounds. While this is provided in the backmatter, along with information about and visualizations of sound waves, many children may not sit through all this text presented in one chunk.
Bug devotees may pick this up for a glance, but it is not likely to be a repeat favorite. (activities exploring sounds, link to audio file of bug sounds (not heard)) (Informational picture book. 3-6)