Review of Buzzkill: A Wild Wander Through the Weird and Threatened World of Bugs

Buzzkill: A Wild Wander Through the Weird and Threatened World of Bugs
by Brenna Maloney; illus. by Dave Mottram
Middle School, High School    Godwin/Holt    384 pp.    g
10/22    978-1-250-80103-6    $19.99
e-book ed.  978-1-250-80105-0    $10.99

In this wide-ranging, amusing, and informative investigation of the insect world, Maloney features the ways in which insects are remarkable unto themselves as well as in relation to humans and the environment. The book opens with a chapter on the basics of insect anatomy and characteristics, with plenty of examples to illustrate their remarkable diversity, then turns to chapters that center on particular insect themes and meander into related topics. A chapter on the role of insects in decomposition includes discussions about forensic entomology, poop-eating dung beetles, and an escapade involving deer skull scavenging, for example. Maloney herself is the central character: an enthusiastic, unflinching, and unfailingly curious explorer of all things insect. She cooks with cricket flour; mail-orders painted lady butterflies, hissing cockroaches, and an ant farm; conducts citizen science insect counts in her own backyard; and interviews scientists to gather information about cutting-edge insect investigation. Her friendly, engaging text includes many analogies (exoskeletons as “the ultimate power suit”) and jokey asides. Interspersed throughout are spot illustrations of insects that combine field-study precision for the bodies with large cartoonlike eyes and expressions. If readers are not already inspired by Maloney’s antics, the final chapter provides an exhaustive list of ways to take action and preserve insect species. A suggested reading list and an index (unseen) are appended.

From the September/October 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Danielle J. Ford
Danielle J. Ford
Danielle J. Ford is a Horn Book reviewer and an associate professor of Science Education at the University of Delaware.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.