Skip to content

Because Charlesbridge has two new children's picture books about moths coming out tomorrow (November 5, 2019), we decided to celebrate with a series of posts about moths and butterflies this week.

Today we are going to highlight Not a Bean by Claudia Guadalupe Martínez and illustrated by Laura Gonzalez for Nonfiction Monday. You'll learn about the second book on Friday.

What does a book called Not a Bean have to do with moths? It might be clearer when you find out the bean in question is a Mexican jumping bean. Still not clear? The Mexican jumping bean moves around because there is a tiny larva (caterpillar) inside that eventually emerges as a moth.

Claudia Guadalupe Martínez starts the story with the plant that produces the "beans" (seedpods or capsules) and explains how the larva gets inside to feed on the seed. Next she shows how the hidden caterpillar behaves under natural conditions. When children find the "bean", they use it for a simple racing game. After the bean stops jumping (because the caterpillar has pupated), the children abandon it. After a moth emerges, the life cycle continues.


Photograph of jumping bean moth by AuldAlliance at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain, Link

Along the way, Martínez introduces young readers to a smattering a Spanish words including the numbers from one to ten.

There is a glossary of Spanish words in the back matter, as well as an author's note with more details about the caterpillar's biology. Only an entomologist would notice this, but she has used an older scientific name for the jumping bean moth in the back matter, Laspeyresia saltitans, rather than the revised name, Cydia deshaisiana.

Laura Gonzalez's digital illustrations are lush and inviting, with exactly the right amount of playfulness.

Because Not a Bean is multifaceted, it could be used either for a lesson on Spanish language and Mexican culture, or for a science unit on insects (or both!) Plus, who isn't intrigued by a "bean" that jumps? Investigate a copy today!

Related Science Activity Suggestions:

Seeds are packed with nutrients to support the plant embryo, so they are a good source of food. Are there any other insects that spend at least a portion of their life inside seeds? What are their life cycles? How do they behave? To find out, check:

You might want to look online for videos about Mexican jumping beans.  This one is a bit dry, but informative. Note:  the first moth shown sitting on a yellow flower is not a Mexican jumping bean moth.

Compare the Mexican jumping bean moth life cycle to that of other butterflies and moths using our growing list of children's books  at Science Books for Kids.

Age Range: 3 - 7 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (November 5, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1580898157
ISBN-13: 978-1580898157

Related posts for Moth Week:

 

Disclosure: The 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 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.

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

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

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.

Related:

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.