Saturday, November 18, 2017

Bugs, bugs, and more bugs

Bugs! Ewww! I don't kill 'em, but I don't love them either! Even if you are not a big fan, Sneed Collard's INSECTS: THE MOST FUN BUG BOOK EVER, is more than a little interesting. Did you know, for instance, that there are more than 950,000 species of insects identified so far (that compare to 5,400 mammals or 10,600 birds or 33,200 amphibians? I also learned that insects have been around for 480 million years (again compare this to mammals, who have only been around for 180 million years). And that ironclad beetles have such strong shells that scientists have to drill holes  to mount them. Dragon flies fly over 35 miles per hour. The dung beetle specializes in eating particular kinds of poop (according to page 26, if you try to feed cattle dung to a dung beetle that prefers elephant poop, he will unfriend you faster than you can say "Poop"). And that a diet of insects is healthier than what Americans eat now-- did you know that a hamburger is 18% protein, but a cooked grasshopper is 60%?

INSECTS includes sections on body parts, chemical communication, reproduction, defenses and social groupings. Every chapter includes sidebars with related topics- things like how insects breathe, locust plagues, and colony collapse disorder, and diseases. The book is illustrated with beautiful full color close up photographs, taken by the author. There's not a lot of end matter, in fact Collard goes so far as to say that he's not going to suggest alternate sources because kids can find their own. He does, however, includes an extensive glossary. A book kids (and their adults) will definitely enjoy.

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