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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bug Zoo, by Nick Baker. DK, Tourmaline Editions. 2010. $14.99 ages 8 and up

"And yes, I am suggesting you add these infamous bloodsuckers and spreaders of plague and pestilence to your bug zoo, and for a very good reason: mosquitoes are among the most successful and deadly animals on Earth, and it's fascinating to find out what they're really all about. You might even grow to love your pet mosquito larvae, but even if you don't, at least you'll get to know the enemy!"

Nick Baker is the perfect role model for your young scientist. He has an insatiable interest in the world and its wonders; in this book he shares his enthusiasm and curiosity with his readers by encouraging them to create a multitude of enclosures meant to allow a closer look.

"Building a zoo means you can become an explorer, a hunter, a collector of fine zoological specimens and, of course, a zookeeper. You don't need much to get started - just a table and a few jars will do. And you can capture your exhibits everywhere. Tune into their world and I can promise you this: you will never, ever be bored again!"

And then he dedicates his book to his 'own little bug hunter, Elvie, whose very first word was 'moth'!" Yep, he's a mentor to all bug collectors, for sure.

Zoo tools are described and ways to catch and keep bugs, before he launches into the first critters in his collection...wood lice. Four pages of photos, information boxes, description and ultimately, the type of zoo structure needed to capture and observe said creature. The directions for building are clear and numbered, and the requirements for care and feeding are included. He moves on to slugs and snails, aphids, caterpillars to name but some. The photographs are impressive, showing readers up close and personal images of the bugs, their homes and most everything else you might want to know about them.

Yuk! Some make my skin crawl but I'm not a kid and not tremendously excited about knowing more and more about the insect world. Still, I found the facts fascinating, if a little discouraging in terms of the mosquito...I dream of the day when summer is not a constant fight to keep them at bay. I must admit I share the author's intrigue that there is little that seems to hold them at bay!

This is another great book from DK...full of miniature habitats, close-up looks and enough shared excitement to encourage anyone who ever thought they might like to know more about bugs, and how to house them!

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