HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!
Author and Illustrator: Bob Barner
Publisher: Scholastic Inc., 1999
ISBN-13: 978-0811822381 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0811822389 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0439172080 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 043917208X (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 5-10
Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Barner, Bob. Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! (published in 1999 by Scholastic Inc.). “Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! I want to see bugs!” A long line of ants, pretty ladybugs, fluttering butterflies, creepy daddy longlegs, buzzing bees, fuzzy caterpillars, hopping grasshoppers, and curly roly-poly bugs are some of the familiar creatures featured in this whimsically illustrated album. The language of the rhyming text is simple enough to appeal to youngsters. There is an “actual size” chart which adds a more educational note, and the “Bug-O-Meter” lists fun facts about each bug, showing whether or not the eight featured creatures can fly, where they live, and the number of legs they have, etc. The butterfly-bright multimedia artwork by author and illustrator Bob Barner, who also wrote Dem Bones, uses cut and torn paper, pen and ink, watercolors, and a computer. Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! will inform and entertain curious little bug lovers everywhere.
The wild and wacky illustrations add a visual aspect that keeps kids interested. The book also introduces pictorial and graph comparisons and the idea of taxonomy in a fun way, preparing them for further studies in science. And it is a fabulous book for teaching children that bugs aren’t all bad. In the interest of accuracy, one reviewer noted, “As a biologist, I’m disappointed with the inclusion of non-insects in this book.” Well, the book doesn’t pretend to be about only insects but claims to be about “bugs.” I know that scientists have a specific definition for bugs, which doesn’t include even every kind of insect, but most of us use the term to refer to all small, creepy, crawly critters. In fact, another name for the roly-poly is “pillbug.” It takes a die-hard, pointy-headed scientist to imply that the world is coming to an end if everyone on planet earth doesn’t understand that spiders and roly-polies are not insects, and the book doesn’t even actually say that they are!