HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Find the Hidden Insect
Author: Joanna Cole
Photographer: Jerome Wexler
Publisher: William Morrow and Co., 1979
ISBN-13: 978-0688322038 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0688322034 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0688222031 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 068822203X (Paperback)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Cole, Joanna. Find the Hidden Insect (published in 1979 by William Morrow and Co.). Especially when our boys were in their elementary school years, we liked to supplement their homeschool curriculum, primarily in science, history, and geography, with real books. When our older son Mark was learning about insects in his second grade science, we checked this book by Joanna Cole, a former elementary school teacher, librarian, and frequent contributor to Parents magazine who is perhaps best known for the “Magic School Bus” books and PBS television programs, out of the library. It presents photographs of camouflaged insects accompanied by simple text explaining their behavior, and the reader is asked to find the insect in each picture.
Cole describes some of the ways insects have of avoiding detection, such as mimicking a twig or a bad-tasting wasp, blending in with a leaf or tree bark, adopting the color and markings of surrounding flowers, and hiding in secreted fuzz or bubbles. Wexler’s excellent photos demonstrate their effectiveness by showing the readers exactly what nature, and then the author, intend them to see. “One caterpillar of the inchworm family hides by covering itself with flower petals. This method works so well that it is almost impossible to find the caterpillar hidden in this Queen Anne’s lace flower.” However, one can begin to make it out as the petals on its body die and turn brown, so the larva pulls them off with its mouth and puts on another flower disguise. The book does a good job of pointing out the pictures efficiently and encouraging children to see for themselves.