Bug Shots
by Alexandra Siy

Price at time of review: $16.95
40 pp.
Holiday House, Inc.
New York, NY
ISBN: 9780823422869

Grade Level: 3-5

Reviewed by CBC Reviewer

While the title makes a pun of the term "bug" (a specific order of insects) this NSTA/CBC Outstanding Trade Book clearly distinguishes between groups of insects, including true bugs, beetles, butterflies and moths, bees, ants, wasps, flies, and some truly "bugly" creatures. Its humor provides a bridge to accurate information about Earth's most abundant phylum.

While the headlines of many of the pages ("Can they be trusted?" "Criminals") suggest an anthropomorphic view of insect behaviors, the detailed descriptions of insects take the reader into great scientific territory. The author encourages the reader to think of each insect order as an FBI file cabinet, and encourages the sort of forensic investigations that reveal clues to adaptations and behaviors. Why are beetles so diverse? Why does a firefly have orange painted "toenails?" What's the relationship between the carrion beetle and the phorectic mite that often lives near its nest? Investigate the electron micrographs and the text to find out. Huge images, including scanning electron micrographs, make this the sort of book that will be well–used at a classroom center (near an ant farm or beehive!) It would be an ideal source of data for a series of inquiry questions which require careful inside observations, and a good prelude to later outside adventures to find insects in the wild.

Review posted on 1/12/2012

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