Face to Face With Caterpillars
by Darlyne A. Murawski

Price at time of review: $16.95
32 pp.
National Geographic Society
Washington, DC
ISBN: 9781426300523

Grade Level: K-4

Reviewed by Lois Spangler
Second Grade Science Teacher

National Geographic’s Face to Face With Animals series is written from the point of view of a nature photographer. Each book contains animal information and outstanding animal photography. Readers will learn about the field of animal study with emphasis on animal observation techniques. The books contain great vignettes about the photographer’s field experiences along with information about protecting the animal’s habitat. Interesting sections such as “Facts at a Glance,” “Tips from the Expert," and “How You Can Help” will reinforce concepts presented throughout the books. Readers interested in learning about using photography as a method of documenting animal characteristics and behavior will find the “Research and Photographic Notes” to be of interest.

This book, an NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for 2008, provides readers with many interesting facts about caterpillars. Caterpillar characteristics are explained in a simple, straightforward manner without the complexity of a course in entomology. Readers will learn about caterpillar diets, habitats, ranges, life cycle, numbers and species, caterpillar silk, how they breathe, kinds of defenses, and differences between moths and butterflies. Students are encouraged to conduct their own observations in a section titled “It’s Your Turn.” This section provides students with an assignment to photograph and write about caterpillars as well as behavioral check list that students can use during their caterpillar observations.

I highly recommend this 32-page book to elementary classroom teachers and students interested in animal study and their conservation. Students in grades 3 through 6 should be able to easily read this material independently. Middle school teachers using differentiated instructional strategies would also find this book useful. Younger students in high reading groups will be able to read this material independently or with limited help. This would be an excellent book for teachers to use as part of their units when teaching animal observation skills. I also recommend this book to teachers and students interested in photography.

Review posted on 9/14/2007

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