There are so many fun books about butterflies, beetles, and all other six-leggeds that I have a hard time keeping up! Here are three that crawled, climbed, and fluttered to the top of the book basket last week. Just in time for monarch butterfly migration...
by Rebecca Hirsch
56 pages; ages 8-12
Millbrook Press, 2018
One of the things we used to do with our kids was tag monarch butterflies as they began their southbound journey. In our neck of the woods that means heading out to the hayfields with net and tags in the first weeks of September.
Rebecca Hirsch begins her book with kids in the field, capturing monarchs to tag for the Monarch Watch citizen science project. The monarch butterflies they tag will head south on a journey of nearly 3,000 miles from across the eastern US and Canada to Mexico. How they do that is a mystery. What's not a mystery: that monarchs are in danger. Every hear fewer butterflies reach the forests in Mexico where they spend the winter.
Why are the monarchs disappearing? That's what scientists want to know, so Hirsch profiles scientists in the field. We learn how field scientists count butterflies, and how human land use affects monarch populations. Habitat loss, climate change, parasites ... these are just some of the issues that monarchs face. Fortunately, there are things people can do to make the world a better - and safer - place for monarch butterflies, from creating milkweed corridors to planting native flowers in our back yards.
Yay for back matter! Hirsch provides further reading, seed sources for butterfly plants, and plenty of ways kids (and adults) can get involved as citizen scientists.Want to get started watching monarchs? Check out her website here.
by Clover Robin
16 pages; ages 5+
Kane Miller, 2018
Bug Hotel is a lift-the-flap board book filled with discoveries. Maybe you're thinking bug hotels are made-up - but no, they really do exist. People build structures from natural materials such as straw, plant stems, wood, and stones. They provide places for insects to stay. Some people build hotels for native bees. Some people create hotels for toads. And some folks build fancy condos with rooms for many different critters to move into.
As you turn each page, you learn more about the bugs (bees, beetles, butterflies, even snails) and you see what sort of accommodations they appreciate. The back spread provides a list of materials and encourages kids to build their own hotel to help create a sustainable and safe place for backyard bugs to live.
Sure, it's written for the board-book audience, but this "older kid" had fun exploring the pages! Check out these cool bug hotels!
96 pages; ages 8-12
National Geographic Children's Books, 2018
Insects are the most diverse, widespread, and fascinating animals on planet Earth, writes entomologist Bill Lamp, in the foreward. So it stands to reason that we should get to know them. Every spread focuses on some incredible aspect of the insect world: life cycles, stingers, migration, conservation. Want to know more about butterflies? Pages 78-79 contain 50 fluttering facts about them.
Information is presented in fact-boxes, with photos interspersed, making this a perfect browse for waiting for an appointment or riding in the car. I can only imagine the kinds of trivia contests it might engender!
Today we're joining the STEM Friday roundup. On any other Friday we'd be joining others over at Perfect Picture Book Friday, but it's summer vacation. PPBF will resume in September, but you can always head over to Susanna Hill's ever-growing list of
Perfect Picture Books. Review copies from publishers