Monday, June 27, 2011

Nonfiction Monday: The secret lives of backyard bugs by Judy Buris and Wayne Richards

The story of the bugs in your backyard begins with the life cycles of insects, the importance of pollinators, and the process of metamorphosis. Then the book moves on to catalog many, many kinds of insects, bugs, and spiders common to backyards. Detailed photographs showing the creatures at various stages, from larvae or pupae to adult, discussion of what they eat, how you can tell them apart from other bugs, and where the authors saw them is also included. After the general bugs and insects, the book moves on to a special section on butterflies, then moths, raising and identifying caterpillars, and then a very brief section on a couple spiders. Packed with interesting facts and photographs, this is a high-interest book that will appeal to kids who are interested in identifying bugs.

At first, I was doubtful about whether I could use this book in the children's area; the text is a bit small (although this could be due to the program I read it on, which is kind of wonky) and dense, although broken up with lots of photography. The book is categorized as adult, but the preview I'd seen of it looked like it could be useful for children, so I'd grabbed it.

However, as I read further, I really got into the authors' personable presentation of these bugs, common and uncommon. I liked the way they talked about where they had seen them and the wealth of information presented on each creature. And, of course, there's the amazing photography! Every bug, insect, and spider is shown in brilliant detail, including its juvenile forms, and sometimes its eggs, food, and behavior. I could have spent a lot longer poring over the pictures! While I don't think many kids will sit down and read this cover to cover, this is an excellent resource for reports, or identifying that weird bug you've just found in your backyard. Budding entomologists will love the detailed mix of scientific information and everyday facts as well. I would have suggested either cutting out or lengthening the section on spiders. I expected as many details as there were for the insects and bugs and was disappointed. I like spiders!

There is a detailed glossary, handy small identification pages of eggs, larva, pupae, and adult forms, list of host plants, and an index.

Verdict: Recommended. I suggest pairing this with one of the pet bug books, like DK's Bug Zoo or Wildlife Gardening. A great book for kids who want lots of information about bugs and have a higher reading level or parents who want a fun, free summer project to do with their kids. This could go in either your adult or children's section.

ISBN: 9781603425636; Published May 2011 by Storey; Egalley provided by publisher through NetGalley; Purchased for the library.


Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

This looks like a great resource! I came over from Nonfiction Monday but lurk here ocassionally already. Great blog!

Alex said...

I just awarded you the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award