“Met-a-more-for-WHAT?” A stern instructor delivers life-cycle information to a class of wide-eyed firefly larvae.
Eventually even pulling a pair of class cutups to attention, the teacher—an adult rather oddly got up in a military uniform in Salcedo’s cartoon illustrations—lays down the (natural) law from “You have four different life cycle stages from when you’re an egg until you’re an adult!” to “As an adult firefly, you have just one job.” Supplementing the lecture with definitions and specific details in frequent side notes (“Finding a Mate 101”), the author covers diet, body parts, bioluminescence, molting, avoiding predators (notably cannibalistic fireflies of the Photuris genus and “giants” wielding jars with screw-top lids), and other topics. Following the teacher’s annoyed “What do you mean you have questions? I only have about 30 seconds left to live,” Foote appends follow-up pages of photos and further facts. She has her finger on the pulse of her audience, informing them of the firefly larva’s appealingly icky dining habits (liquefying its prey with poison) and realistically depicting a moment of near-total distraction when the young students delightedly repeat “bum” before being corrected by their teacher (“Grow up, larvae! It’s your flashing ABDOMEN”).
Illuminating, of course—and also a good deal of fun.(glossary, websites) (Informational picture book. 6-8)