Four picture books about the importance of bugs

Four recently-released picture books serve to show young children the importance of bugs. It’s an important concept for youngsters who might otherwise try to catch a butterfly or kill a hapless insect. Without insects, the earth would be a barren place.

“The Chameleon that Saved Noah’s Ark” by Yael Molchadsky and illustrated by Orit Bergman shows how hard it must have been on the ark for Noah and his familychameleon — having to feed and care for two of every kind of species must have been exhausting! And while Noah and his wife and sons are able to please almost all the animals, there is one pair of creatures that will not eat. The two chameleons grow skinnier and skinnier, and in spite of Noah and his wife trying every kind of food, they won’t eat. When, to Noah’s horror, they find their fruit has been infested with bugs, the chameleons show their importance. They eat the bugs. But the author makes sure to get his message across that “everything and everyone has a place in the sun” by having Noah save two of the bugs. After all, some creatures need to eat them! (Nancy Paulsen Books 2016)

“Good Trick, Walking Stick” by Sheri Mabry Bestor and illustrated by Jonny Lambert is a good tricknonfiction book that uses a fiction device (a main character) to tell the story of the life cycle of a walking stick. The story is fascinating (to adults as well!) and when the walking stick does something that kids might find especially interesting, like squirting bad-smelling juice at a bird for protection, the narrator says, “Good trick, walking stick!” Included in the narrative are bits of information presented in a nonfiction manner. “The walking stick will molt six times before she is fully grown. One form of defense for a young walking stick is the ability to lose an appendage, or leg.” (Sleeping Bear Press 2016)

marsh in meadow“At the Marsh in the Meadow” by Jeanie Mebane and illustrated by Gerald Guerlais is another book that shows the importance of insects in the life cycle of the marsh. Written like a nursery rhyme (think “The House that Jack Built”), it’s a book that children will enjoy because they can orally join in after the first few pages. This  book is a great tool for introducing any life cycle because it shows that from algae on up — and ending with the big eagle — all creatures are important. Even the tiniest ones. (Sleeping Bear Press 2016)

“Mr McGinty’s Monarchs” by Linda Vander monarchsHeyden and illustrated by Eileen Ryan Ewen, is a fiction picture book that includes plenty of nonfiction information about monarch butterflies. Mr. McGinty loves monarch butterflies. He and his dog Sophie love walking and seeing them among the milkweed. He watches the caterpillars as they munch the plants. One day, he is horrified to find that the plants have been cut down. Children will love reading how Mr. McGinty saves the caterpillars, and they will love learning about the life cycle of the monarch. (Sleeping Bear Press 2016)

All of these books would be great additions to the classroom or school library. Children will enjoy each of them and learn about the importance of even the smallest creature. An important lesson, to be sure.


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