Within the past week, my family has:
- seen beautiful butterflies in the Smokies
- tracked water striders along a mountain stream
- befriended and “nurtured” two caterpillars (named “Spiky” and, um, “Spiky”)
- identified and, um, killed a black widow spider on our porch
- dug up and fished with big earthworms
- obliterated a fire ant hill
- been beaten by mosquitoes….
Clearly, the time’s are a’changin.’ Or, at least, the seasons. Warm weather is fast approaching, and the bug world is coming out in force.
But that’s okay to a young child. For some reason, the insect kingdom offers no small fascination for the younger population. Maybe it’s because they’re not rushing through life, too busy to notice the ladybug on the maple, the inchworm laboriously crossing the sidewalk, or the roly polies under the big rock they just turned over. The bug world is a marvel of God’s creation–a microcosm of intricacy, special function, and beauty.
You could, of course, celebrate the bug world with some screen action: It’s a Bug’s Life or Bee Movie. But what fun is THAT? Or, you could make haste to pick up some of our favorite titles below from your local library and head out for a backyard picnic/story time to observe these little guys close up (don’t forget the bug spray!).
Step Gently Out
Rick Lieder and Helen Frost
This book is gorgeous, but I’ll say no more. I am waiting on it from my local library, but I did get to peruse it this weekend when I was visiting with Janie Chaney (yes, shamelessly name dropping here☺). She’s going to do it more justice on Redeemed Reader soon, so hop on over there and check them out.
Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices
Eric Beddows, illustrator
1988, Newbery Medal
One of my all-time favorites!! These antiphonal poems are meant to be heard, preferably by two readers. If you don’t have readers in your home yet, check out the superb audio version. The poems are all about bugs.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
20+ buggy poems and marvelous mixed-media style paintings await your perusal here. Poems are perfect for early elementary kids to pour over and read.
Diary of a Worm, Diary of a Spider, and Diary of a Fly
Doreen Cronin, author
Harry Bliss, illustrator
Did you know that worms keep diaries? Flies and spiders, too? Funny text and pictures engage young readers. (Usually in picture book section). These are silly and have journal/collage style illustrations; they’ll work best with the kindergarten-second grade crowd, but probably aren’t good read alouds to a crowd because some pictures are quite small.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
1994 (orig. 1969)
A classic that needs no description! A perennial favorite. Check out Carle’s The Very Busy Spider, The Very Quiet Cricket, The Very Lonely Firefly, The Grouchy Ladybug,….
Ten Little Ladybugs
Laura Huliska-Beith, illustrator
Piggy Toes Press, 2003
A simple, rhyming counting book with bright illustrations that young children love.
Inch by Inch
1995, originally 1995
Another “retro” favorite, Leonni is the author of Swimmy and other favorites, too. This one is about a little inchworm.
Hi! Fly Guy
2006, Geisel Honor Book
Megan and I have some young boys who are big Fly Guy fans!! A very fun easy reader series worth checking out.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Only the author of Stellaluna could make a cockroach and an ant colony so beautiful. A sweet story followed by some nonfiction pages on cockroaches and ants. Longer text makes this a good school age read aloud or to younger experienced listeners.
Sam and the Firefly
P. D. Eastman
2010 (originally 1958)
This is an old favorite for the easy reader crowd, and it’s a nice addition to a bugs books lineup!
E. B. White
Garth Williams, illustrator
2001 (originally 1952)
Of course! How can we not include this classic in a bugs books lineup! Charlotte is the world’s best spider character, bar none.
All cover images from goodreads
Be sure to check out the 595 section of the juvenile nonfiction books for some fact books, too!