Sunday, February 25, 2018
Wicked Bugs: The Meanest, Deadliest, Grossest Bugs on Earth, written by Amy Stewart and illustrated by Briony Morrow-Gibbs. Algonquin Young Readers, Thomas Allen & Son. 2017. $12.95 ages 11 and up
This book is a young readers edition of Amy Stewart's earlier book for adults. It is chock full of information sure to make people squeamish, and will be loved to bits by kids who have a special affinity for insects, no matter how mean, deadly and gross they are. It is perfect for middle graders, and its included facts will be shared over and over again with anyone willing to listen.
Ms. Stewart has done her research, and regales her readers with just the perfect amount of information in themed categories that include: Deadly Creatures, Everyday Dangers, Unwelcome Invaders, Destructive Pests, Serious Pains, Terrible Threats. She also includes data on scientific classification and the fears that haunt us. A glossary, list of resources, bibliography and an index round out the well-designed, carefully written, and most attention grabbing text. I went straight to
the Unwelcome Invaders to be sure I knew what to look for should my house face any invasion.
It led me to learn about Nightcrawlers, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, the African Bat Bug, the Millipede and five different kinds of Zombies. Ewwwww!!! There was much to be learned and I had reason to feel totally grossed out by some of them. But, it did not deter me. I didn't stop there. Because I found the writing enjoyable and compelling, I carried on. I hope not to have nightmares about them, but will admit to feeling a bit creepy-crawly at times. While I didn't find myself scratching or shivering, I did give myself pause while reading about some of them.
I know kids who won't be able to put it down ... and I don't blame them.
Illustrations throughout add to the overall appeal, and to the sense of ick that some readers will feel. They are detailed and provide a close up look for most of the included species. I didn't find myself wanting to make friends with any of the aforementioned, but was intrigued by some of the details included to tell their story. The fact box that accompanies each entry is useful, and provides scientific information and detail.
Be sure to visit www.amystewart.com and sign up for her email newsletter. You can also visit the Wicked Bugs section of her website to see the latest happenings with bugs. And, I hope you enjoy the following trailer: