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(Public domain image from Wikimedia)

The 17-year cicadas are incredible insects that emerge in mass numbers after spending 17 years underground. In late April to early May 2021, scientists expect a large emergence (called Brood X) in the Eastern and Midwestern United States. To coincide with this amazing natural event is the emergence of a new picture book The Cicadas Are Coming!: Invasion of the Periodical Cicadas! by Doug Wechsler (releasing April 26, 2021).

Ever wonder where the periodical cicadas come from and what they are doing? Step by step, this book supplies the answers.

We have featured Doug Wechsler's book, The Hidden Life of a Toad in a previous post, so we knew to expect fabulous photography, detailed life cycles, and accurate information.

The Cicadas Are Coming! exceeds our expectations. He has captured every detail of the cicadas' life cycle through photographs. He must have spent many, many hours to explore each life stage -- inside and out -- so thoroughly. The photographs are so amazing that the text seems hardly needed.

But don't ignore the text. Wechsler explains the life of cicadas in an engaging way.  He also includes fun fact sidebars to keep young readers turning pages. Did you know that a cicada's ears are on its abdomen?

The back matter includes many more facts, a glossary, and resources for finding out more.

All in all The Cicadas Are Coming! is perfect for nature lovers and curious scientists of all ages. Break out a copy today!

Related Activity Suggestions:

1. Visit Doug Wechsler's website for more fantastic nature photographs.

2. Explore how a cicada makes sounds.

Do you see the flap called the tymbal that acts sort of like a drum head? That tiny structure allows the male cicada to generate an extremely loud noise.

Make a model using a tin can and a balloon (instructions in this previous post, Activity 4)

3. Dissect a cicada exoskeleton

Have you ever seen a cicada nymph exoskeleton on a tree trunk or the side of a building?

Look at it closely and you can see many features of the insect, from the claws on the front legs -- that it uses to dig with -- to the silvery strands inside that are the remnants of its breathing tubes (trachea). See if you can find the poky beak of a mouth (often directed down between the legs), the eyes, and the pads on it's back where the wings formed.

If you have one available, examine it under a microscope.

For more, check out our previous cicada posts.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Reading age: 6 - 9 years
Publisher: Doug Wechsler (April 26, 2021)
ISBN-10: 1737021714
ISBN-13: 978-1737021711

Disclosure: This book was provided electronically by the author 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 link 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.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books. Note: this is a new link as of 10/2018.

Look what arrived in a box on the front porch yesterday:

 

Physical copies of my debut picture book, How to Build an Insect!

What's it about?

Calling all curious young scientists, artists and makers! Come into the workshop and find out How to Build an Insect. While you are inside, discover different insect body parts —from head to cerci — and how they go together. At the same time, explore how human body structures compare to those of insects through playful illustrations. The workshop in the book has so much to offer, once you come through the doors, you might not want to leave. Once you do, however, crank up your creativity and build your own insect model!

 

Educators know that hands-on STEAM activities reinforce learning and help youngsters develop fine motor skills. Those abilities will allow adults to perform tasks ranging from a fishermen tying flies to surgeons suturing a patient. Plus, by reading the book young readers will learn to observe, compare, and develop the vocabulary needed to classify and appreciate insects. Full STEAM ahead!

It has been a long journey to publication. I hope children enjoy reading it for years to come.

How to Build an Insect will be available to the public April 6, 2021. You can pre-order copies at the publisher Lerner Books, at our local indie bookstore, Changing Hands, or most other places books are sold.

If you'd like to take a peek at the amazing illustrations, visit Anne Lambelet’s website.

Please let me know if you have any questions or would like more information. Thanks!

2

How did you do with the photo matching quiz from last week?

A. Cicada

matches the cicada nymph exoskeleton on the tree, G.

Cicada nymphs spend one or more years underground before they emerge as adults.

This queen butterfly, B, matches it's caterpillar, H.

They both resemble monarchs, which also feed on milkweeds. Monarchs and viceroys are also close mimics.

 

The insect above, C, Is a honeybee, which build honeycomb below, L.

The ladybug D, emerges from a ladybug pupa like the one below, I.

 

Finally, F, is a genista moth, which was probably the hardest to identify. It's caterpillar is K, below. They feed on a very specific host plant, Texas mountain laurel.

Hope you had fun with this challenging game.