Collard, Sneed B. III. Insects: The Most Fun Bug Book Ever
March 1st 2017 by Charlesbridge Publishing
Copy provided by the publisher
What exactly are insects, and why should we care that there are almost a million different species of them? In a fast-paced, jovial style, Sneed Collard tells us this information and more! Covering basic bug facts (hatching, growing up, defenses, diet, etc.), this volume introduces readers entomology using fantastic photographs and an amusing, conversational tone. While I am normally annoyed by phrases like "Righteous exoskeleton, dude!", these fun phrases really helped lighten the tone of the book and kept me reading! Young readers who are interested in insects will eat this up like a deep fried termite, and those reluctant to pick up a nonfiction book will be drawn in by the close up views of insects and and the interesting information.
This book had a great balance of pictures and text, with some informative sidebars providing further information and anecdotes about particular types of insects. The photography is excellent, making this a great resource for classroom teachers; I can see chapters of this being read aloud to accompany a science class unit on insects. There is enough information that this could be used for research projects, and it's also great fun just to read. Finding a nonfiction book that fits all of these uses is an extremely rare occurrence!
Collard doesn't just provided information about insects; he makes sure to tie this information into reader's daily lives. He encourages them to go out and look at insects in the world around them and emphasizes the need for everyone to be knowledgeable about the world around and the impacts that humans have on it. This book is an essential purchase for elementary and middle school libraries.
Hale, Bruce. Mutant Mantis Lunch Ladies
March 7th 2017 by Disney-Hyperion
Copy provided by the publisher
Carlos and Benny are back after The Curse of the Were-Hyena, and this time are fighting formidable opponents-- the lunch ladies seem to have an evil agenda that includes feeding the boys and girls different food. The girls are starting to manifest typical middle school boy behaviors, and the lunch ladies seem to occasionally morph into giant bugs. When a 2nd grader goes missing, the boys decide to investigate with the help of comic store owner Ms. Tamasese, although their friend Tina is being super weird and unhelpful, so they can't ask her for assistance. They eventually track down a scientist who was involved in experiements with insects, and realize what a big threat the lunch ladies could be if they are not contained!
Strengths: There aren't a lot of books involving monsters, and my students do ask for them. This one had a lot of fun adventures, plenty of gross moments, and a fast paced plot. This series will be popular with students who like Gilman's Tales from Lovecraft Middle School.
Weaknesses: I don't remember the first book being this small size or having the lenticular cover. I would rather the book be a slightly larger format-- the print was on the small size.
What I really think: I really thought I had bought the first book in the series, but I seem not to have. Putting on the list, although I want to check to see the size of the print. I know that sounds silly, but my readers who want tales about monsters are also very apt to put a book down if it doesn't meet their exacting specifications.