Praying Mantis Picture Books

Lynn: I’ve realized that my posts lately seem to feature a lot of bugs and critters—but my experience with the Focus Group has taught me you can never have enough books about them! So here are two more starring a particularly spectacular insect: the praying mantis.

Most kids will recognize this large bug. Found in gardens and natural areas, the praying mantis is a ferocious predator of garden pests and most other insects —  My Awesome Summer by P. Mantisincluding each other!

My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis (2017) provides excellent science and a nice dollop of humor, too. In diary form, P. Mantis tells the story of her life from spring to fall. Simple sentences and first-person narration make the story immediate and funny, if sometimes a bit gruesome.

“All the aphids are gone. I’m hungry.

Growing so fast!

I ate one of my brothers.

Okay, maybe two.”

Meisel’s acrylic, digitally enhanced illustrations are really lovely, offering a fun range of perspectives while reflecting the text. The book takes full advantage of all its space, using the front and back end pages for interesting additional facts, suggested websites, and a glossary. This is best read as a lap book to offer close inspection of the many fun illustrative details.

Praying Mantises by Megan Borgert-SpaniolStart the youngest entomologists with the facts in Praying Mantises (2017) by Megan Borgert-Spaniol, a beginning reader in the Creepy Crawlies series. Simple facts and some truly spectacular close-up photographs will give kids a good understanding of mantis basics, with a glossary that provides vocabulary. Other back matter includes a short print bibliography and easy instructions for accessing informational websites.

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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.

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