Friday, February 19, 2021

Butterflies and Spiders ~ Oh my!

It's never too cold - or snowy - to read about bugs! I say this as a person who, even in winter (or maybe especially in winter?) discovers ladybugs wandering over the keyboard and boards a jumping spider somewhere behind the book case. Not to mention the temporary guests: wasps and spiders who come in with the furnace-bound firewood. They warm up and begin exploring and next thing you know I've got to get my net out to do a bit of insect control.

The Truth About Butterflies 
by Maxwell Eaton III 
32 pages; ages 4-8
Roaring Brook Press, 2020

Each page introduces facts about butterflies in a fun way. Maxwell Eaton highlights butterfly diversity, shows strategies for survival, and gives a guided tour of the stages of butterfly life. Dialog – from humans, pets, birds, and butterflies (even the pupae have something to say) – add humor and occasional facts. Plenty of text boxes add context.

What I like about this book: It’s a fun approach for kids. And I know I’ll be listening harder for butterfly voices this summer. I like that the section about human impacts include positive action kids can take to make their homes a better place for butterflies. There’s a butterfly file at the back with tons of info about behavior and suggested reading for larvae (kids) and adults.

Jumping Spiders (Creepy Crawlers in Action: Augmented Reality series)
By Sandra Markle
32 pages; ages 8-12
Lerner, 2021

Six chapters introduce the jumping spider’s world and give a close-up introduction to these fascinating spiders. We get to know the spider on the outside as well as the inside  - did you know they have “book lungs?” Jumping spiders spend a lot of time hunting, so Sandra Markle takes us along on a hunting expedition (from the spider’s point of view). We learn about the life cycle of the jumping spiders and how males dance to attract a mate. Back matter includes more information about jumping spiders and their relatives.

This book is part of a brand new middle-grade series that also includes locusts, mosquitoes, praying mantises, stick insects, and ticks. Sure, there are tons of books about bugs - but these books go way beyond the pages. Readers with smart phones can download the appropriate app and, when they come upon the Augmented Reality icon, scan it to watch the spiders - and other arthropods - “come to life.”

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