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Cover: The Secret Lives of Insects

The Secret Lives of Insects

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The lives and behaviors of insects can be truly incredible. Some, however, are so gross you probably won’t even want to read about them. Or, do you? From a wasp that turns cockroaches into zombies to a beetle that repels predators with poisonous, boiling-hot farts—each book in this fascinating new series is packed with truly unbelievable facts. Perfect for reluctant readers, these books deliver life sciences in the creepiest, yuckiest way possible!

Interest Level Grade 2 - Grade 7
Reading Level Grade 3
BISACS JNF003120, JNF003000, JNF051150
Genre Nonfiction
Language English

Bookworm for Kids Blog Review of Blood, Poop, & Dead Skin: The Things Insects Eat

Kids who love the icky, gross and simply can’t get enough of insects and how they eat are in for a huge treat with this book!

This book is about insects. . .some very rare and some more common. . .and the more disgusting habits several harbor. Disgusting as some of the food sources might be, this is not only about hitting high on the grossness scale, but rather, offers all sorts of interesting insect tidbits along the way.

Twelve very different critters are put in the spotlight, including everything from Honeypot Ants to Green Bottle Flies to Tarantula Hawks and so many more. Each insect becomes the star of a two-page spread and is presented in real life, very colorful and clear photographs. Readers get a glimpse into their natural habitats. There’s a quick summary of the insect, their environment and their food source as well as a reason for why they eat what they do. A ‘The Science Stuff’ box sits between the photographs, offering more curious and interesting bits of information about the insect. And to keep the excitement high, little boxes point to various attributes in the photographs and give a short description or another bite of information. At the end of the book, there’s a good sized glossary to help with more difficult terms, an index and the mention of a website, where readers can discover even more.

This is not a book for the weak of stomach, but the insects as well as the information is interesting. The text is at the perfect level for middle graders, gets right to the point and keeps things short. This keeps readers from getting bogged down and bored, and lets them simply dive right into the information. And the insects here are not ones often explored. There’s definitely something new to discover even for insect fans who know their stuff.

Booklist Review of Disguises, Explosions, and Boiling Farts: Bizarre Insect Defenses

In riveting close-up photographs, a dozen insects display—or, in stomach-churning detail, actually demonstrate—a range of natural defenses, from mimicry and camouflage to venomous spines, poisonous foam, and squirts of formic acid. The content caters to thrill seekers (the Exploding Carpenter ant covers attackers in “poisonous yellow gloop”) and to budding zoologists who want to know about exact anatomical features and chemical processes (Bombardier beetles shoot boiling spray from their “butts of fire”). Accompanying facts and graphics back up the informal but vivid general commentary with plenty of “Science Stuff.” The back matter is perfunctory at best, as is the single simple (safe) science demonstration, but both sorts of readers will nonetheless find this entry in The Secret Lives of Insects series (4 titles) a blast.

Author/Illustrator biography
Glossary of key words
Sources for further research
Table of contents
Full-color illustrations, Full-color photographs