Sunday, September 22, 2013

Nonfiction Monday: Ultimate Bugopedia

Ultimate Bugopedia
written by Darlyne Murawski and Nancy Honovich
2013 (National Geographic Kids)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Check out Nonfiction Monday at Sally's Bookshelf

Do you need to keep a kid occupied for a couple of hours, but want to stay away from video games or computer screens? Find a copy of this book which is over 250 pages of bug mania. I don't think the authors are buzzing aimlessly with the claim that this is the most complete bug reference book ever. This is fantastically creepy fun for nonfiction lovers. Over 400 insects are featured.

Each two page spread has the usual beyond the pale photographs from National Geographic. Nobody does it better than the Society when it comes to animal photos. A short, crisp narrative also accompanies each spread. The authors weave in "wow" facts that young readers will be delighted to share with their friends and family. Just not at the dinner table. Below the narrative is several categories of facts. The following items are included:

  • Common name
  • Scientific name
  • Size
  • Wings
  • Food
  • Habitat
  • Range (Where you will find this insect)
So when I picked up this bug behemoth of a book, I opened to the spread about the tarantula hawk. On the right side, there is a large photograph of a tarantula hawk (bright red wings and about two inches long) facing down a tarantula spider. Nothing to see here, right? The tarantula takes care of the insect and has a tidy dinner. Man, did I get this wrong! The tarantula hawk is indeed hawkish. The female stings a tarantula and paralyzes it. Then, she drags it to her burrow or nest and lays an egg on the tarantula's abdomen. You might want to click out right now if you are squeamish. The wasp larva uses the paralyzed tarantula for food. It avoids the vital organs at first so it has time to develop. That is quite ghastly. 

The Ultimate Bugopedia is a bug lover's dream. I love the format because it would be easy to duplicate in the classroom for developing nonfiction writers who want to create their own bug books. If you study bugs, this is the book to have in your collection. Check out the trailer for yourself.


  1. sounds cool! Wish the trailer showed some of the inside pages...

  2. Nice find, Jeff. I will be looking for this one. Like your suggestion for extending it, as well.

  3. National Geographic makes THE most beautiful books! Thanks for sharing this--I don't know how much up-close photography of bugs I actually want, but I have to admit I'm intrigued!

  4. I bet my kids would spend hours with this book. Will be looking for it. Thanks for linking up at Booknificent Thursday