________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 6. . . .October 10, 2014


Do You Know Praying Mantises? (Do You Know?).

Alain M. Bergeron, Michel Quintin & Sampar. Illustrated by Sampar. Translated by Solange Messier.
Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2014.
64 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 978-1-55455-337-2.

Subject Headings:
Praying mantis-Juvenile literature.
Graphic novels.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Gillian Richardson.

***1/2 /4



As a sort of cannibal, large praying mantises will also eat smaller individuals of their own species.

Thanks to its green and brown colouration, the praying mantis blends in perfectly with its environment.

The praying mantis hunts by lying in wait. It can stay still for hours at a time. Once its prey comes near, it takes less than one-tenth of a second for the praying mantis to jump on it. At this speed, its prey has no way to escape.


If you are already fascinated by the praying mantis or if you are simply curious to know more about them, this amusing little book will give you a unique perspective. The writing team of Alain M. Bergeron, Michel Quintin and Sampar have created another in their nonfiction series, “Do You Know?” using a graphic novel format with bright, lively illustrations. The facts are for real, but the presentation is zany with guaranteed appeal to young readers.

internal art     The mantis, with its distinctive upright posture and long, folded front legs, lends itself well to the imaginative interpretations of the illustrator, e.g. dressed in religious garb, formal dress or sportswear. The comic depictions accompany briefly noted facts about the insect’s diet, mating habits, and hunting prowess. Young readers who enjoy the more ‘sordid’ details will be intrigued to learn about the mantis’ cannibalistic nature, even among newborns (Papa Mantis: “The baby has no appetite today.” Mama Mantis: “It’s normal! She ate her brother this morning.”). Among other remarkable information, though, the female can continue to lay eggs (up to 400 at a time) even if decapitated. Those eggs will survive the winter enclosed in protective foam even though the adults are killed by the first frost.

      This series of books clearly demonstrates how learning science can be a lot of fun as the facts shown through this wacky approach may linger in one’s memory far longer than those read in a text-book style presentation.

Highly Recommended.

Gillian Richardson is a freelance writer living in BC.

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.

Next Review | Table of Contents For This Issue - October 10, 2014.
CM Home
| Back Issues | Search | CM Archive | Profiles Archive