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Creepy-Crawly Creature Books

Share How do earthworms know night from day when they have no eyes? What makes slugs slimy? If you're curious about the answers to those questions and others, you're sure to enjoy two new children's books all about bugs, insects, and other tiny creatures.

For some people, ants, spiders, and worms are pesky annoyances. For others, they are fascinating creatures, with life cycles, diets, and mating habits every bit as intriguing and diverse as those of other animals. Kids who are fascinated by the world of insects are sure to enjoy these new books that take a closer look at the world of bugs.


Book Cover Image How do earthworms know night from day when they have no eyes? What do grasshoppers like to eat? What makes slugs slimy? Find the answers to those and many other questions in More Pet Bugs: A Kid's Guide to Catching & Keeping Insects & Other Small Creatures (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.), by Sally Kneidel. In this follow-up to her earlier book, Pet Bugs, Kneidel introduces us to 23 new creatures, including ants, earthworms, grasshoppers, and slugs.

More Pet Bugs is very much a hands-on book. Each of the five sections has from three to six chapters, each devoted to one type of bug. A chapter describes what a bug looks like, where to find it, how to catch it, how to take care of it, and what it acts like. Illustrator Mauro Magellan provides numerous black-and-white line drawings, including at least one for each chapter that clearly details how each bug looks.

The introduction to the book describes the meanings of the words bug and insect, provides pointers about safely and responsibly capturing and caring for small creatures and warns about undesirable insects. The appendix contains a detailed explanation of the scientific classification of animals -- particularly as it pertains to insects. Also provided are a glossary, a bibliography, and an index.

Whether you are capturing and keeping bugs as a class project, providing help for the child who wishes to catch bugs at home, or just serving as a reference for background information on creatures that might be observed on a nature walk, More Pet Bugs is a worthwhile resource for both home and classroom.

Sally Kneidel is the author of several children's books on animals. Her credentials include a Ph.D. in biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and 11 years of teaching science to students ranging from elementary school through college.

Book Cover Image


Did you ever wonder what a bug looks like, face-to-face? In Bug Faces (National Geographic Society), writer and nature photographer Darlyne A. Murawski presents more than a dozen full-color photographs of insects taken in extreme close-up. Readers can see the two huge compound eyes of a deer fly, each of which contains thousands of tinier eyes. They can then look at the eight eyes of a nursery-web spider, arranged in two horizontal rows. Readers learn how a mosquito uses its lower lip, which resembles an extra leg, to steady its feeding tube when drinking. They discover how a cockroach uses its palps, long feeders located near its mouth, to pre-taste food so that it can avoid eating anything that might be harmful.

Photographs take up most of each two-page spread; the rest of the space is devoted to simple text describing the insect. The unusual images and the fascinating information that Murawski provides will captivate even older students. Bug Faces can serve as an excellent introduction to the study of insects for students of any age.

Darlyne A. Murawski is a research associate at Harvard University, a biologist, and a nature photographer. She holds a Ph.D. in botany from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her articles and photographs have appeared in National Geographic magazine.

The books highlighted this week are available in most bookstores. If you are unable to locate the book, ask your bookseller to order it for you or contact the publisher directly:

  • More Pet Bugs: A Kid's Guide to Catching & Keeping Insects & Other Small Creatures, written by Sally Kneidel and illustrated by Mauro Magellan, is published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158.
  • Bug Faces, written and photographed by Darlyne A. Murawski, is published by National Geographic Society, 1145 17th Street N.W., Washington, DC 20036.

Lauren P. Gattilia
Education World®
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