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The bugs have come out to play! So far this spring we’ve seen earwigs, earthworms, junebugs, lacewings, caterpillars, and lots of other creepy crawlies around our house. We’re not super scientific about classification in our house if you can’t tell. Worm? Bug! Beetle? Bug! Spider? Bug! Anyway, my son has caught caterpillars and crickets, tried feeding pill bugs to his baby chick (no dice), and already been devoured by mosquitoes. We’ve also had to send the ants marching two by two back out the door. Apparently they’re big fans of the Cheerios my toddlers have been leaving scattered about the house.
One of my favorite “bug” memories (like many of my other favorite memories) involves a day at the park with my then-six-year-old son. We decided to venture out on a cold, drizzly day after a deluge to count the earthworms that had ventured out onto the sidewalk. As we counted what seemed like hundreds we’d toss the stranded little wigglers back onto moist soil and cheer as they gyrated with glee. No one else was at the park that day; it was just us and the earthworms. It’s one of those special days that’s hard to explain, but impossible to forget.
Anyway, bugs aren’t always fun, but I think they’re extremely interesting. In their 2009 textbook Entomology and Pest Management, researchers Larry Pedigo and Marlin Rice estimate that there are over 400 pounds of insect biomass for every 14 pounds of human biomass. Insects outnumber humans over 200 million to 1. Yikes! And if you’re not particularly keen on bugs, then yuck!
Even if you’re not bug people, I hope you’ll take some time and enjoy a few of the following buggy books with your little readers this month. And if you are bug people, then see if you can find, study, and release a few of the bugs featured below! Until next time, keep reading together!
Bug in a Vacuum by Mélanie Watt
This picture book follows the journey of a bug through the Kübler-Ross model of grief and loss…and through the bowels of a vacuum. It's not as scary (or weird) as it sounds, I promise! It's actually a fun journey for kids and shows how we tend to cope with circumstances that we can’t understand. Double win!
Walter’s Wonderful Web by Tim Hopgood
Poor Walter can’t quite make a web like his friends. All his webs end up as triangles, squares, or some other non-spidery shape. Those kind of webs just won’t hold up in the wind. Fortunately Walter is persistent (and not prone to concussions) as he works through the night to perfect his design. This book is lots of fun for kiddos learning shapes or kiddos learning about patience and determinedness.
Bug Zoo by Andy Harkness
Ben is a bug hunter. He finds every armored, creepy, crawly bug he can see and puts each into a mason jar. Then he gets the idea to open his very own bug zoo! He charges 25 cents for admission but quickly realizes that business is slower than a slug. After Ben catches a luna moth he realizes that he must make a very big decision. Find out what happens next by checking out this book today!
Big Bug by Henry Cole
At first a bug is big, but when you move away, a bug seems small and the leaf it’s perched on seems big. Keep moving back and a leaf looks small but a flower looks big! Move back further still and a flower looks small but a tree seems big! This book is a clever way to introduce difficult concepts such as scale and perspective to young readers.
Little Bitty Friends by Elizabeth McPike (illustrated by Patrice Barton)
This is a sweet little book all about little things specially designed for little readers! (Sorry. I got a little carried away.) This quick read is perfect for sharing under a big shady tree on a cool spring afternoon, and will appeal to toddlers and preschoolers who are curious about exploring the great outdoors.
Can You Make a Scary Face? by Jan Thomas
Stand up! No, wait. Sit down! There’s a tickly bug in your shirt! Dance! This is an interactive picture book that is sure to make young readers giggle. Play along with Ladybug as she asks you to complete all kinds of silly assignments. The toughest task is last--you and Ladybug must find a way to scare away Big Mean Frog!
The Big Book of Bugs by Yuval Vommer
I love this book! In fact, I just checked it out for my son! It’s illustrated, so it has a picture book feel but presents lots of fascinating information about all kinds of bugs. My favorite factoid (so far): dragonfly babies are hatched in water!
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
In my opinion, there is no finer “bug” book on the planet. Charlotte is a beautiful spider whose painstakingly-created web touches on themes like kindness, cruelty, innocence, civility, friendship, hope, and even death. This novel is a book that no childhood should be without. I read it last year with my (then) seven year-old and he was about the perfect age for it.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
I guess I’d be remiss not to include at least one of Eric Carle’s amazing bug books. If you haven’t had the chance to share this book with your kiddo, now is the perfect time when you can start to find caterpillars creeping around your yard growing bigger and bigger like the caterpillar in this story.