Summer is here! I hear the occasional cicada buzzing in the trees. I see the bees, flies, and butterflies drinking nectar and gathering pollen. Spring flowers have faded and summer buds are beginning to bloom. The night is lit up by the flash of the firefly and stars in the sky.
A perfect time for a buggy book.
Title: Insect Superpowers : 18 real bugs that smash, zap, hypnotize, sting, and devour!
Author: Kate Messner
Illustrator: Jillian Nickell
Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2019
For ages 5 and up
Themes: Insects (entomology), Nature, STEM, Earth Day Every Day
"An Insect Family Tree
All living organisms are identified using a system called biological classification, where they're organized based on common characteristics."
This opening offers a great overview of the scientific classification system for all living things. The book dives in to the order of Insects.
There are Fast & Fierce insects, Great Impostors, Big & Tough, Masters of Chemical Weaponry, Engineers and Architects, and Amazing Ants.
Learn about the Decapitator, AKA the Asian giant Hornet, that has made the news. Discover the not so sweet and innocent flash of the Firefly.
I giggled as I opened to one page and at the top is says:
"Machine Gun Butt Pop! Pop! Pop!"
Tee Hee! You are going to have to read the book to find about what insect this is.
I will tell you a little something about the firefly. The female sends out light signals to attract a male . . . but one species (Photuris versicolor) imitates a different species of firefly with the promise of mating, but she has other more dastardly things in mind.
Resources and Activities
Learn more about Jillian Nickell
Learn more about Kate Messner If you have older kids, you may also want to read her novel CHIRP.
Make your own Superhero trading cards.
Spend time near flowers and see who comes to visit. Make a list of all the different insects you see. What are they doing? What size are they? Make drawings. What names would you give these insects? What superpowers do you think they have?
Take your curiosity to another level and look up more information about the insects you see. Two great books by Heather Holm are Pollinators or Native Plants: Attract Observe and Identify Pollinators and Beneficial Insects with Native Plants, and Bees: An identification and Native Plant Forage Guide.
There are loads of insect and butterfly guides available. You can check them out from your library.
Catch a firefly and watch it for a while. Be sure to let it go before you head in for bed.
Raise some caterpillars and learn about their life cycle then release the butterflies.
And if you find a dead insect in your yard or on your walk, pick it up and study it.
Need a snack while you read?
How about making some Ants On a Log.
I like to make mine with celery, almond butter, and dried cranberries.
Check out Susanna Hill's Perfect Picture Book Friday Blog post each week to learn about more cool books to read with your kids and add to your collection.
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