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Busy with Bugs Review by Jennifer Harrison

By Toni Albert
Trickle Creek Books
500 Andersontown Road
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

So much more than a book about bugs, this amazing book is an adventure with bugs! Readers are encouraged to get up close and personal with bugs with activities and experiments. As they explore the world around them, readers observe and identify some fascinating features of these incredible creatures!

Readers are given 6 suggestions for catching bugs, 4 ideas for keeping bugs as pets, and 5 basic approaches to observing bugs. All of these are shared with stunning artwork and easy-to-follow instructions. I would feel completely comfortable turning a third grader loose with this book. While easy, it is also informative and is equally fascinating for even my eighth-grade student. After these basics are introduced, readers learn about the basic shape of bugs and the ways they grow and about their camouflaged disguises.

And then the real fun begins! Once all of the introductory information is covered, students begin exploring specific insects and bugs. Students read about dragonflies, grasshoppers, crickets, praying mantises, cicadas, leafhoppers and spittlebugs, ladybugs and aphids, fireflies, click beetles, whirligig beetles, caterpillars, butterflies and moths, ants, fruit flies, daddy longlegs, millipedes, pill bugs, and spiders. No, they are not all technically bugs, but the author explains this at the very beginning so that readers do not walk away misinformed. Readers discover where and when to look for these bugs; they investigate each kind of bug with activities and observations and learn interesting bug trivia along the way.

I am very impressed with this book. It makes an incredible unit study and is jam-packed with educational helps, such as a chart, a glossary, field note forms, and an extensive resource list. The book encourages a love of science and never dumbs-down the material. I love that it expands a child's vocabulary without being overwhelming. Class and Order are given for each bug studied right alongside bug jokes and interesting tidbits. This hardback book with thick, glossy pages is written by an author who loves her bugs and invites readers to fall in love as well.

Product review by Jennifer Harrison, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2011