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Insects and invertebrates

Aston, Dianna Hutts  A Beetle Is Shy
Gr. K–3     40 pp.     Chronicle

Illustrated by Sylvia Long. Larger-than-life watercolor illustrations of colorful, gem-like beetles are framed by poetic text describing their features and behaviors. This exploration of beetle biodiversity showcases their “kaleidoscopic” colors; their range of stature (“A beetle is colossal… / or microscopic”); their lively moves as they dig, run, hop, and swim; the ways they are “helpful… / or harmful” to human endeavors; and more. An eloquent blend of science and art.
Subjects: Insects and Invertebrates; Animals—Beetles

Bestor, Sheri Mabry  Good Trick, Walking Stick!
Gr. K–3     32 pp.     Sleeping Bear

Illustrated by Jonny Lambert. This illustrated life cycle of a walking stick introduces the insect’s “tricks,” such as camouflage and limb regeneration. In addition to the read-aloud-perfect main narrative (onomatopoeic phrases and the titular refrain are sprinkled throughout in a large font), blurbs on each spread provide more in-depth scientific explanations for budding entomologists. Pattern-rich full-spread illustrations extend the text and provide visual cues for new readers.
Subjects: Insects and Invertebrates; Life cycles; Animals—Stick insects; Animal defenses; Animal behavior

Downer, Ann  Smart and Spineless: Exploring Invertebrate Intelligence
Middle school, high school     88 pp.     Twenty-First Century

This exceptionally well-documented book presents current research to show that at least eight species of invertebrates use their tiny brains to apply memory and learning to new situations — i.e., that they’re intelligent. Downer’s accessible explanations, buttressed by carefully selected photographs and sidebars, lead to new appreciation for invertebrates such as worms, mantis shrimps, octopuses, and even slime molds. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Insects and Invertebrates

Grajkowski, Wojciech  Bees: A Honeyed History
Gr. 4–6     72 pp.     Abrams

Illustrated by Piotr Socha. Translated by Agnes Monod-Gayraud. In this browsable oversize volume, almost everything related to bees is covered (though in somewhat piecemeal fashion), including the history of bees; beekeeping; the use of honey; and the biology of flowers, bees, and pollination. A strip of text running along the bottom of most spreads leaves ample room for the amusing illustrations of bug-eyed bees, giving readers plenty to pore over.
Subjects: Insects and Invertebrates; Books in translation; Evolution; Beekeeping; Animals—Honeybees; Animals—Bees

Simon, Seymour  Insects
Gr. K–3     40 pp.     HarperCollins/Harper

In a continuous narrative tour of a variety of insect orders and species, Simon explains the wonders of insect anatomy, life cycles, their long presence on Earth, and their immense numbers. Common backyard insects receive additional attention. The excellent scientific information addresses numerous common misconceptions. Full-page photographs capture the range and beauty of insect species. Websites. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Insects and Invertebrates

From the November 2017 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book. All reviews are from The Horn Book Guide Online.

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