Friday, September 1, 2017

How to Survive as a Firefly

I thought I'd sneak in two more bug book reviews before the weather gets too chilly for bug observations. (You can find more insect book reviews and activities here)

How to Survive as a Firefly
by Kristen Foote; illus. by Erica Salcedo
36 pages; ages 5-10
Innovation Press

"Up and at 'em, larvae." The drill sergeant calls out his young troops to get them ready for life as an adult firefly. He's been in the trenches for a year and a half, and he knows a thing or two...

First, there's tricks to getting through metamorphosis.
"Met-a-more-for-what?" ask the youngsters. Oh boy. This bug's got his work cut out for him. Thing is, you've gotta get ready to change because you just can't stay a larva forever. And if you're a firefly larva, that means COMPLETE metamorphosis - turning into a pupa and....

"Can we get a snack first?"

Written in dialog, this is a fun, fun, fun introduction to insect morphology, physiology, and Photinus pyralis - fireflies for you two-leggers. There are lessons on bioluminescence, flashy facts, and lots of humor - and of course, a pop quiz at the end.

Back matter includes Frequently Asked Questions and an author's note in which Kristen promises that no actual fireflies were harmed in the creation of the book. There's even a glossary.

Bugs! (Animal Planet chapter books)
by James Buckley, Jr.
112 pages; ages 7-10
Time Inc. Books, 2017

What makes an insect an insect? Great question, and that's the first thing you'll discover as you read through this book. Factual information on body parts, where they live, how they outnumber us (10 quintilliun insects; 7 billion people - they've got us a trillion to one!), and where they live. Chapters include: insect life cycles, what they eat, how they move around, and "buggy sense". There are chapters highlighting dragonflies, mantids, beetles, mosquitoes and other flies, butterflies and moths, and ants, bees, and wasps.

I like the "Bug Bites" - double-page spreads that focus on such things as army ants, and extreme insects. "Fact Files" give readers more details about the topics, and there are plenty of fact boxes scattered throughout. Curious bugologists will appreciate the list of resources for further study, and for those who want fast facts, there's an index.

Drop by the STEM Friday blog for more science books and resources. Review copies from publishers.

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