________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 1 . . . . September 4, 2009


The Insecto-files: Amazing Insect Science and Bug Facts You'll Never Believe.

Helaine Becker. Illustrated by Claudia Dávila.
Toronto, ON: Maple Tree Press, 2009.
64 pp., pbk. & hc., $12.95 (pbk.), $22.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-897349-47-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-897349-46-5 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Insects-Juvenile literature.
Insects-Experiments-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Rosemary Hollett.

**** /4


Most experts think that there are over 10 quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) individual insects digging, boring, flying, crawling, and pooping their way in and around the Earth –– that's about a billion billion bugs for every single person! And we're not even counting their close relatives, the arachnids, which include spiders, lice, ticks, scorpions, and mites.


Award-winning author and former science kit developer Helaine Becker invites kids to explore the world of insects in her irresistible new book, The Insecto-files. Becker has published in varied children's genres and has brought a wealth of experience to this entertaining, yet educational, title. As we have come to expect from the author, this publication is well researched and presented in an engaging manner. Using an amusing, conversational style, Becker invites readers to identify and classify insects from the everyday to the rare and the fantastic. Readers are hooked from the introduction. The collection of original experiments and activities encourages kids in an entertaining way to think, do and learn. Each experiment can be safely performed at home using everyday equipment and ingredients with minimum fuss. Activities include:

Feats of Flight –– Butterflies feed on sweet liquid in flowers called nectar. Learn how to make artificial nectar out of water and sugar, and count how many butterflies you can attract with your sweetness!

     The book begins with a table of contents, and there are 28 double page spreads addressing a different topic with appropriate activities. For example, there are sections on bug basics, night creatures, bug bites, master builders, and amazing facts. Bees and ants are given there own double page spreads.

     A company in Canada has come up with a way to use the venom from ant bites and bee stings to power fuel cells! The mini-power sources can be used to recharge cell phones and digital cameras.

     Becker has once again joined forces with illustrator Claudia Dávila who has created a colorful, zany and appealing design. Her computer-generated images, charts and dialogue boxes complement and enhance Becker's breezy style. Readers will appreciate this artistic approach as it allows smaller chunks of information to be absorbed.

     In addition to a regular subject index at the book's conclusion, there is also a helpful list of science concepts and experiments.

     This reasonably priced, nicely packaged and presented volume will be a great addition to libraries at school and at home.

Highly Recommended.

Rosemary Hollett is a librarian at St. Emile School 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.