Have you ever wondered what life is like for insects?

For example, take these aphids feeding on a sunflower stem. Look at how spiky the stem looks from a closer perspective. Must make getting lunch a bit more challenging, don't you think?

We usually consider aphids to be fairly sedentary. They put their straw-like mouthparts into the plant and stand sucking the juices. Do they ever get uncomfortable? Too hot? Too full?

Just as I was pondering this, the biggest aphid pulled out her mouthparts and walked away, leaving the tiny nymphs behind.

Apparently aphids aren't so sedentary after all.

For Nonfiction Monday we have a new Middle Grade book, Insects: The Most Fun Bug Book Ever by Sneed B. Collard III.

It's a great title, but how much fun is the book, really? Let's take a look.

Starting out, it is written in an animated conversational tone, with a touch of silliness thrown in. Here's a sample:

"The thorax, or middle part, of an insect is its transportation center. Insect manufacturers always attach an insect's legs to its thorax. If you see an insect with legs on its head, don't buy it!"

The information is handled in a less-than-serious way, as well. For example, there is a table in the introduction comparing the known number of species of different animal groups. Kids might not look too closely until they realize one of the categories is comic-book superheroes (there are more than 1,000 different comic-book superheroes according to the author.) The conclusion that the number of insect species far exceeds the number of species in other animal groups comes through loud an clear, regardless of any humor. If adding superheroes to the mix makes a reader pay more attention, then good for Mr. Collard.

Some parts appear to be serious. The illustrations are color photographs, most taken by the author. On the other hand, on page ten is an illustration of an insect's anatomy hand-drawn by the author's son. The back matter includes the standard glossary and index, but no list of books or websites to learn more. Instead the author encourages kids to go outside and observe insects in the real world.

All in all, Insects: The Most Fun Bug Book Ever is a must-have title for budding entomologists and kids interested in biology. It will also appeal to kids who enjoy their nonfiction on the lighter side, making it an excellent choice for reluctant readers. Check out a copy today.


Age Range: 9 - 12 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (March 21, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1580896421
ISBN-13: 978-1580896429

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title or cover links and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

The wildflowers are going, well, wild right now.

It's been cool and rainy, so the insects haven't been quite as active.

I did find a few false chinch bugs on the brittlebush.

False chinch bugs (Nysius raphanus) feed on weeds like London rocket. If the conditions are right, they can build up to high numbers. They aggregate as they prepare for migration and sometimes clouds of these tiny insects can be found in certain locations in the desert. Once the migration starts, however, they disappear rapidly.

No clouds of insects in my yard, though. Just flowers...