Category: snails (Page 1 of 2)

STEM Friday #Kidlit Little Killers Has a Big Impact

We all know middle grade readers who can be a little jaded and hard to please. That’s why you should make sure you have Sneed B. Collard III’s newest, Little Killers: The Ferocious Lives of Puny Predators in your arsenal.

With just enough humor sprinkled in, Collard introduces us to some lesser-known predators that have a big impact regardless of their size.

Take the pteropods. More commonly known as sea angels or sea butterflies, he calls them the “potato chips of the sea” –isn’t that great imagery?– because so many critters eat them. But it turns out at least some of these “potato chips” have a bite. The sea angels turn on their mostly vegetarian cousins the sea butterflies and eat them!

After revealing the killer instincts of invertebrates from flatworms to driver ants, the final chapter is a call to action to protect these creatures that we often don’t see or notice, but which serve such important roles in ecosystems.

The book is illustrated with eye-catching stock photographs, like the closeup of the driver ant worker on the cover. A few photographs show young scientists at work, allowing kids to relate.

Little Killers will grab the attention of both budding biologists and reluctant readers.  Get your claws on a copy today!

Related Activities:

Get to know more about tiny predators

  1. Most of us know that lady beetles (also called lady bugs) eat aphids.

convergent lady beetle

Did you know that another stage of their life cycle eats even more aphids than the adults?

Lady beetle larvae don’t look much like their adult parents, but they are even hungrier! When you see them on plants, don’t be alarmed. You should leave them alone.

Let’s look at the rest of the stages.

To start out, adult lady beetles lay eggs that look like tiny orange footballs.

The eggs hatch into voracious larvae.

Any idea what the orange blob below is?


If you look very closely at the base where the blob attaches to the plant, you might see a clue. That is the outside skin or exoskeleton of the lady beetle larva.

This is the lady beetle pupa. Doesn’t look much like the beautiful beetle that will emerge in a few days, does it?

Keep your eyes open this spring for lady beetles. Learn about the kinds of lady beetles living in your neighborhood and watch for their life stages.

2. Sea angels are incredibly beautiful, but you are unlikely to see one unless you visit an aquarium.  They are snails without shells that swim in the ocean.

And they are also “Tiny Killers.”


Reading age ‏ : ‎ 8 – 12 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Millbrook Press ™ (March 1, 2022)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1728415691
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1728415697

Want to entice  younger readers? Try the picture book, Beaver and Otter Get Along…Sort of: A Story of Grit and Patience Between Neighbors by Sneed B. Collard III and illustrated by Meg Sodano. It came out in September.

Meet the author and learn more about the book in this video.

Be sure to visit Sneed’s website

and see our reviews of his books in previous posts.

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 4 – 8 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Dawn Publications (September 7, 2021)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1728232252
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1728232256

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher. 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.

#kidlit Nonfiction Monday: Snails Are Just My Speed!

Snails are fascinating creatures that are often overlooked. When I discovered the children’s book Snails Are Just My Speed! by Kevin McCloskey on a list of great science and nature books from 2018, I knew I needed to get my hands on it.

Part of the Giggle and Learn series, this title combines fun illustrations with serious information about snails.

The first thing I love is that Keven McCloskey put the eyes where they should be, on the eye stalks or tentacles. Yes!

The second thing I love is that he puts in a lot of mucus for the “ick, gross” factor, but also adds useful information, like humans make mucus too, but it is mostly on the inside.

The thing I love most? The awesome lesson on how to draw a snail in the back! (Turn the page for useful tips for parents and teachers about “How To Read Comics With Kids.”)

The books in this series are marketed as beginning readers, which may discourage some older children from picking them up. That would be too bad because they have potential to appeal to a larger range of ages.

Snails Are Just My Speed! should fly off the shelves. Check out a copy today!

Age Range: 4 – 7 years
Publisher: TOON Books (May 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 194314527X
ISBN-13: 978-1943145270

Snails can be humorous? Yes, they can.

This is me on Monday morning.

Do I have to get up?

Argh, it is too bright out.

Okay, if I must get up I will.

Now, where did I put my coffee?

If you want some more serious science try our previous posts:

Adult readers might be interested in the memoir that Kevin McCloskey says inspired him, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey. It reveals how her long recovery from a devastating illness was helped by observing a snail.


Publisher: Green Books; Later prt. edition (September 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1900322919
ISBN-13: 978-1900322911

Bug of the Week: Snail Lungs?

Have you ever looked closely at a snail shell?

The shell can be many colors, but it is usually opaque.

When I downloaded this photo, I was surprised to see the channels on the inside of the shell. Can you see the vein-like, branching structures I’m talking about?

Let’s zoom in:

It turns out that in young land snails like this one — with a thinner, more transparent shell — it is possible to see the interior vessels of the mantle and mantle cavity (lung).

In fact, if you look closely you might see some of the other internal organs, as well.


Do you like snails? See our previous post about snails:

Snail Q and A and fiction picture book, Escargot

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