Bug Zoo by Nick Baker

51986379Lynn: I’ll start this post by reminding readers that my 7-year-old twin grandsons stay with me before and after school and during the summer. Like most 7-year-old boys they love bugs and books about bugs. Cindy saw this book at ALA and I ordered Bug Zoo (DK 2010) sight unseen. Bugs: how to catch them and keep them. Do I really need to say anything more?

This really IS terrific though and quite unique. For some odd reason there are very few books about how to keep bugs alive in captivity – well maybe it isn’t really so strange ūüėČ Anyway, after a nice introduction that includes a list of “zoo tools” and basic information, the book focuses on 13 specific bugs. Each section includes basic information on the bug along with fascinating close-up pictures followed by easy-to-follow instructions on how to catch them, build a suitable habitat and what to feed them. Each section also includes suggestions for interesting things to observe with each creature.

The book is very kid friendly, the habitats are relatively easy to construct (with a little adult help for the youngest aspiring entomologist) and the bugs discussed are readily available in most areas. This is something you CAN try at home. The 13 bugs include worms, slugs, earwigs, ladybugs, crickets, woodlice and mosquito larvae so be warned – the yuck factor is pretty high for the squeamish among you.

We have of course given the instructions a try and our bug zoo now contains ladybugs, a katydid crib and mosquito larvae and we successfully raised two monarch butterflies which we released. I think the wormery is next but I’m going to recruit my husband to do that. Clearly some grandfather-grandson bonding is in order!

The book is full of well-chosen information and intriguing pictures making it fun to peruse even if readers don’t chose to create a zoo. Our focus group who were born bug-obsessed adored this book on sight and as they have been known to squabble over it I may have to buy a second copy. After raising two sons and having three grandsons, I’m not bothered by most bugs but I’m telling you right now that a mollusk mansion is NOT in my future. YUCK!

Cindy: I’ve seen this book in its natural habitat but was not able to capture it for closer inspection. I think that’s okay. I don’t want to take it from our focus group and have a bug tragedy on my conscience just because I had the book at my house for a few days. Suffice it to say, this book should be in every library serving young children and in the homes of the truly obsessed.

nonfictionmondayCheck out Picture Book of the Day for more Nonfiction Monday posts.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

4 Comments on "Bug Zoo by Nick Baker"

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  1. Oh, a great suggestion to have on hand for the not too distant future for my grandson! Thanks for the post.

  2. wrappedinfoilblog@gmail.com' Roberta says:

    Bugs are a big favorite around our house, too. Sounds like a fun project.

  3. jeeguu@gmail.com' wiki read says:

    “Bug Zoo” is dedicated to curious children of all ages (5 and up). Here is the author’s invitation to his readers: “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.

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