Fun, inspiring, and well researched.


Nineteen chapters illustrated with colorful, mixed-media art use scientific classification to deliver facts about insects “creeping, crawling, fluttering, and scuttling in every corner of the world.”

The above verbs are in the introduction: a stark white, double-page spread that sports scores of highly varied insects illustrating those actions. The text boldly asserts that insects are both the most successful and the most important animals on Earth, with necessary contributions to nearly every ecosystem. The next chapter’s paragraphs clearly distinguish insects from other animals, including a sidebar explaining why such creatures as spiders and pill bugs are not insects. After another chapter discusses diversity within the insect class, each of the remaining chapters is devoted to facts about a few different insects found within one order. The short paragraphs have intriguing subheadings: “Bugs we eat”; “Life in a bee’s bottom”; “Living glue guns.” The writing style and curated content hold plenty of interest, making the abundant exclamation points unnecessary. Labeled art that is both stylized and anatomically correct—and that even has a somewhat humorous appeal—complements the conversational text. Excellent organization of material includes ample introduction to Linnaean classification in both text and glossary (under “order (scientific)”), allowing for easy browsing. The text includes reasons for endangerment when necessary and suggestions for helping. Kudos for explaining monarch and painted lady butterflies’ generational migrations as akin to a relay race.

Fun, inspiring, and well researched. (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-913519-45-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Welbeck Children's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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A hopeful and helpful addition to any nature library.



From the Sandra Markle's Science Discoveries series

Scientists solve the mystery of a disappearing zebra herd.

A herd of plains zebra regularly vanishes from the Chobe River flood plains in Namibia and Botswana during the dry season, but until Robin Naidoo and other scientists fitted some of these animals with GPS trackers, no one knew where they went or why. Markle (The Great Shark Rescue, 2019, etc.) ably describes the species, its habitat in the Serengeti Plain, the phenomenon of migration, the science research, and its surprising results: a “record-holding zebra migration” to the grasses in Botswana’s Nxai Pan National Park, which have extra nutrients for the mares and the foals they bear there. Her clear explanations are accompanied by well-chosen and informatively captioned photographs from a variety of sources. The lively design includes a striking zebra-coat background surrounding boxes with additional information and images. Maps help American readers locate this migration in southern Africa. One that includes the tracked migration routes of eight females demonstrates the astonishing directness of the 155-mile journey undertaken by seven (the meandering route taken by the eighth is unexplained). The author concludes with concerns about the possible effects of the changing climate and how conservation groups are planning to help the zebras so that they can continue to travel unimpeded and find water on their way.

A hopeful and helpful addition to any nature library. (author’s note, fast facts, glossary, source notes, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-3837-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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No substitute for getting down and dirty in the greenery but a good and visually memorable start.


A gallery that will bring young naturalists close—very close—to common creepy-crawlies.

“Bugs” in this case includes earthworms, snails, and water bears, along with well over three dozen arthropods sharing worldwide distribution, from cat fleas and woodlice to grasshoppers, blowflies, and spiders. Huge, high-resolution stock photos or micro photos of representative specimens are set against black or blurred-out backgrounds to bring colors and finer details of anatomy into spectacular high relief. Around these, smaller photos share space with digestible chunks of introductory comment, distinctive features, definitions of scientific terms, and bulleted facts. Though living up to its titular promise that at least some species of all the chosen invertebrates are likely to be near at hand in any reader’s habitat, this is not a field guide. Nor, aside from an advisory against collecting or even touching live insects, does the author offer guidelines for outdoor expeditions, instructions for hands-on projects, or resources for further study. Along with realizing that movie aliens and monsters have nothing over what nature has on display, though, even casual browsers will absorb some basic information about the wildlife that, would they but look a little closer, wriggles and scampers all around.

No substitute for getting down and dirty in the greenery but a good and visually memorable start. (index, glossary) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: July 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-77085-697-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Firefly

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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