CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 3 . . . . September 29, 2006
Everyday Insects features the insects that children will encounter in their backyards or neighborhoods - beetles, butterflies and moths, crickets and grasshoppers, flies, mantids, cockroaches, dragonflies, earwigs, bugs (here the authors point out that not all insects are bugs, but all bugs are insects), fleas and lice, ants, bees and wasps, and termites. A matching game invites readers to match insects with a close-up of their specialized body parts, one example being a tube to sip nectar.
Insect Defenses shows readers a variety of ways in which insects protect themselves from predators. Topics include sensing enemies with compound eyes and antennae, protective parts (the elytra, or front wings, of a ladybug, for instance, which close over its body to shield the back), camouflage, movement, mimicry, warning colours, venom, bad smells and tastes, noises, and giving up a body part in order to escape. There is also mention of how guards in a colony of social insects will protect the group.
In Insect Homes, the authors discuss both found and built homes in different habitats. Burrows, trees, colonies, hives, ant farms, termite mounds, nests and paper homes are featured along with information about nurseries in which the eggs and larva of insects are hidden from predators. A game board is provided at the back of the book. Using game pieces and a die, players will journey through a termite mound in order to bring food and water to the termite queen, and learn facts about termites along the way.
Finally, Insects in Danger explains the threats to insect life on Earth- and some insects might even become extinct before humans have had a chance to discover them. Though it takes the authors quite a while to get to each of the points, perhaps this is necessary for the young audience. Reasons for insects being in danger include clearing rainforests, developing recreational areas in deserts (which uses up the water, already in scarce supply), planting crops, using grasslands for dirtbike and ATV riding, draining wetlands, using pesticides, collecting insects, and introducing plants and animals to other habitats, leading to an imbalance of nature. Readers will also learn about preserves, large areas of land set aside where plants and animals cannot be destroyed or harmed, as well as some suggestions for how they can help insects. The activity shows children how to start a scrapbook by taking photos of insects and printing anecdotes beneath the pictures. Given the age of the book's intended audience, this activity is unlikely to be tried.
Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.