________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 4 . . . . October 12, 2007


Bugs Up Close.

Diane Swanson. Illustrated by Paul Davidson.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2007.
40 pp., pbk. & hc., $8.95 (pbk.), $18.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55453-139-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55543-138-7 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
Insects-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

**** /4


Insect antennae may be long or short, thick or thin, wide or narrow. Some look like bristles. Others are like feathers or combs. Their size and shape are often related to their use. The feathery antennae of male mosquitoes can detect the humming wings of female mosquitoes. Cockroaches use their long, narrow antennae to feel things. And sharp spines along the antennae of some young water beetles help to break up prey.


Insects are Earth’s most common and successful animals with some 10 million million (yes, that’s million million) of them living on this planet. Diane Swanson’s appreciation for insects is evident on the pages of this book as she describes to young readers the various physical and behavioural adaptations which help insects to survive. Each of the first nine chapters focuses on an insect body part; the rest of the chapters cover such topics as signals, eggs, metamorphosis, colours, shapes, weapons, size and success. Within each chapter, Swanson provides several examples of insects whose specialized behaviours or body parts- legs, antennae, eyes, for instance- best demonstrate the topic. Pronunciation for terms such as proboscis, spiracles and metamorphosis is provided in parentheses. Written in fairly short sentences, the text is quite simple and easy to comprehend. A table of contents, a brief glossary and an index are included.

     Though the text is interesting and informative, the photographs really steal the show. Set in a lively, colourful and attractive layout, the photos give readers a fantastic close-up view of the featured insects. From the hundreds of thousands of lenses on the eyes of a gad fly to the veins on a katydid’s wings, photographer Paul Davidson captures phenomenal images to enthrall readers. Tiny purple stink bug eggs look like round blueberries on a leaf, while an orange ball of pollen, about the size of a golf ball, is stuck on the leg hairs of a bee the size of a dinner plate.

     Guaranteed to delight readers, this book serves as a good introduction to the world of insects and the many reasons why bugs have survived for over 400 million years.

Highly Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.