by Heather L. Montgomery; illus. by Howard McWilliam
32 pages; ages 6 + up
"Some bugs litter. Some pass gas. Others throw poop."
This book introduces some of the rudest bugs around... although they are still young - larvae or nymphs - so we might excuse their juvenile behavior if it wasn't SO gross!
Author Heather Montgomery introduces the bugs as contenders in a "Battle for the Grossest"- and you get to choose the winner. Each spread focuses on one insect and its uncivil behavior: mesquite bugs who pass gas, caterpillars who ooze green goo, beetle larvae who carry their poop around on their backs, and even one youngster who turns to cannibalism.
There is, of course, great back matter: some explanations about why this behavior is adaptive and not just "bad" juvenile hijinks, a handy map showing where to find these insects when traveling across the US, and a glossary.
These bugs are so bad that I just had to ask Heather why she wrote the book!
Archimedes: What inspired you?
Heather: I love bugs! Ever since I started writing for children, I've been trying to write a book on bugs. I'm fascinated with bug behaviors, and the grosser, the better... at least for hooking kids. The idea for this book really began with the antlion, a true "litter bug". I found that idea amusing, but it wasn't until I was procrastinating one night when the idea for a bug contest hit me. Maybe I was inspired by one of those contest shows on TV or maybe it was a school field day event - but when those two ideas came together it seemed like the perfect way to present this quirky - but highly scientific - information to kids.
Archimedes: What sort of research did you do?
|photo provided by Heather Montgomery|
Archimedes: Do you know any of these rude bugs up-close-and-personal?
Heather: Antlions under my deck were the genesis for this book. I was lucky enough to be shocked by the break-dancing behavior of azalea caterpillars one day while at the McDowell Environmental Center in Alabama. One day I smelled something putrid in my front yard and discovered a dead bird carcass in a nest. In flew a carrion beetle. And I sure hope there are some decapitating flies busy at work in the fire ant mounds in my back yard!
You can learn more about Rude Bugs - including how to find your own "bad boys" - and vote for your choice of the Grossest of All at Heather's website. And keep your eyes peeled for another bug book, because Heather says she can't stop at just one!
Today's review is part of the STEM Friday roundup. Drop by STEM Friday blog for more science books and resources. Review copy from the author.