skip to Main Content

Creatures That Fly, Creatures that Crawl

Our regular readers have figured out by now that I love bugs, because I cannot seem to pass up reading books about them. I often daydream that I am an entomologist who researches and raises insects of all kinds, and even identifies new species. I suppose the next best thing to being a scientist who studies insects is reading books written by scientists, including  these two special books about dragonflies and caterpillars.

Author Chris G. Earley is the interpretive biologist at the University of Guelph’s Arboretum in Ontario, Canada. Most of the photos in the book were taken by the author.

dragonfDragonflies: Catching, Identifying, How and Where They Live ($6.95, Firefly Books, Ages 8-11) will get you hooked on these fascinating creatures. Dragonflies are part of a group of insects called odonates. They are fast fliers and have been around since before dinosaurs roamed the earth! If you want to find dragonflies on your own, look for them near rivers, lakes and swamps from early spring to late autumn.

In this information-packed compact paperback book, you’ll learn about the life cycle of the dragonfly (egg, nymph, adult); what they eat (other insects); how to catch them (using a net); and how to hold them (by gently folding back their wings). You’ll also discover many different kinds of dragonflies with descriptions and incredible photographs. There’s a list of additional books worth reading and an index to help you find what you’re looking for.


caterp2The cover of Caterpillars: Find, Identify, Raise Your Own ($6.95, Firefly Books, Ages 8-11) makes you want to open this book right up and start reading. Caterpillars never cease to amaze children because their transformation into butterflies is nothing short of amazing.

Readers will be able to identify all the parts of the caterpillar and their life cycle (egg, caterpillar, chrysallis/cocoon, adult stage). They will also learn how to find, raise and feed them. And after reading about all the different types of moths and butterflies, and looking at photos, they will be able to identify a wide variety of species. This book also has a list for further reading and an index for quick reference.


Both of these books teach children what they can do to protect these insects and to cherish the creatures of the wild. They will also encourage kids to want to learn more about nature and perhaps one day become scientists themselves.

– Reviewed by Debbie Glade

If you enjoy these books about bugs, read some of Debbie’s other reviews here.

Step Gently Out

Noisy Bug Sing-a-long

How To Raise Monarch Butterflies

Mayfly Day

Share this:

Big Beautiful Bugs!

Debbie Glade gets all bug-eyed about an enthralling kids’ book.

I absolutely love insects and cannot seem to read enough books about them! Step Gently Out ($15.99, Candlewick Press, Ages 2 and up) is an uncomplicated, captivating and delightful book about bugs. The story is actually a lovely poem by Helen Frost, wonderfully complemented by Rick Lieder’s incredible photographs. You’ve never seen such close-ups and details of insects as these! Each photo features a different creature with a magically misty background of that insect’s habitat. Your child will enjoy taking his or her time to study each picture. In the back of the book you’ll find more information about each insect featured in the poem, making the story both poetic and educational.

I admire the way the author and photographer turn insects into something so beautiful. The book is an ideal way to introduce young children to the world of entomology. Step Gently Out would make a wonderful gift for any child.

Click here to watch Candlewick’s amazing trailer video about the book.

Share this:

What’s Lurking in the Garden?

Kids love butterflies and are generally fascinated by other insects too. Today Debbie Glade reviews two compact yet information-packed books for ages 6 and up about insects that linger in the garden.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading How to Raise Monarch Butterflies: a Step-by-Step Guide for Kids ($19.95, Firefly Books, Ages 6 and up) written and photographed by Carol Pasternak. What struck me first were the spectacular close-up photos of all the stages of the lifecycle of a monarch butterfly. Wow! After learning about the basic anatomy and metamorphosis of a monarch, readers will learn all they need to know about raising their own monarchs. There’s a list of supplies to gather, tips on how to find a caterpillar (on a milkweed plant), how to raise the caterpillar and watch the entire extraordinary lifecycle before your very eyes. You’ll also discover how to release your butterfly and what that creature will experience when out on its own. There are helpful Resources, a Glossary and Index too.

Children will love doing this project with an adult and will feel like true scientists doing an experiment as they watch and learn. The book is well written, takes you step-by-step and is easy to understand. Each of the 48 pages got me so excited about the prospect of raising my own butterflies that I’m going to try this myself. (I’ll let you know how it goes.)

Let’s Look at the Vegetable Garden ($11.99, Moonlight Publishing, Ages 6 and up) written by Caroline Allaire and illustrated by Sabine Krawczyk is a unique and wonderful book. It is one of many Close Up books by Moonlight Publishing that teach kids about science. The book is spiral bound so it opens flat and is compact in size so the reader can bring it outside in the garden for reference. In the back is a clever paper magnifying glass that you place around several wonderful cellophane illustrations to “magnify” the images. There’s even a paper magnifier case too. The book highlights six different insects one would find in a vegetable garden. Through descriptions and illustrations, readers learn what the critters look like, what they like to eat and how they live. In addition to the featured insects, a few pages of the book lists some of the many other bugs typically found in vegetable gardens, complete with illustrations.

As an avid organic gardener myself, I know how important it is to learn about all the critters that want to eat the food I am growing for my family. This book is an excellent tool for the youngest gardeners, as it will help them understand all the challenges farmers face and help them appreciate the food they produce for us to eat. What’s more, it reminds them that humans are not the only animals on earth who need to eat the food that grows in the ground.

Click here to check out the other titles in the Close Up Series.

I highly recommend both of these books. They are beautiful, educational and inspire young minds to explore the natural world around them.  Parents and teachers will love them too.

Share this:
Back To Top
%d bloggers like this: