Curious facts about familiar invertebrates are packaged with a magnifying glass for extended observations.
Spread by spread, this cheery collection of infobits describes the creepy-crawlies of the world: butterflies, stick insects, beetles, ladybugs, worms, centipedes, snails, spiders, flies, ants and bees. The arrangement of facts on a spread is nearly as quirky as the assortment of (unsourced) information the author, a London-based illustrator and art director, has chosen. The background is a stylized illustration suggesting an environment where the creature might be found: the leaves of a tree for ladybugs, a table full of sweets for flies, beehives inside and out. A short introduction to the group appears at the top right-hand corner of the page followed by a circular illustration of the three or four stages of its life cycle. After that, factoids are scattered around the pages, each with a quick headline: “dinosaur playmates”; “slow snail race”; “spider soup.” There are occasional humorous additions that might just help youngsters remember facts about species differences. Each page also includes a suggestion for further exploration in the real world using the surprisingly effective plastic magnifier embedded in the cover.
For readers who can get beyond the use of the generic “bug,” this could be an engaging invitation to explore the world of small creatures. (Nonfiction. 7-10)