Monday, June 04, 2012

Bug Off: Creepy, Crawly Poems

Bug Off! Creepy, Crawly Poems. Jane Yolen. Photographs by Jason Stemple. 2012. Boyds Mill Press. 32 pages.

I had low expectations for Bug Off! For one, I do not like insects. I don't like looking at insects, photos of insects. Even in a photograph, some can still make me squirm. And poetry is hit or miss for me, most of the time. So what did I think about Jane Yolen's Bug Off? Well, I liked it. It wasn't perfect. I'm not claiming that all thirteen poems are amazingly, wonderfully worthy. But the fact that each poem is followed by a nonfiction (prose) paragraph with detailed information on each insect, the fact that these paragraphs usually have at least one or two facts that are fascinating, it helps to make up for some of the more mediocre poems. In other words, I can be unimpressed by an insect's particular poem, but fascinated by the nonfiction prose about that insect. And then, of course, there are times where I enjoyed both.

The thirteen poems:
  • Oh, Fly
  • Praying Mantis on the Prowl
  • Butterfly to a Flower
  • An Army of Ants
  • Honey Bee Mine
  • Lovebug Alone
  • Daddy Very Long Legs
  • Spider to the Poet
  • Dragonfly Lights
  • Pop! Goes the Tick
  • The No-Spot Ladybug in Court
  • Grasshopper Green
  • Swarm
My favorite poems were "An Army of Ants," "Butterfly to a Flower," and "Grasshopper Green."

Here is one stanza from An Army of Ants
An army of ants, an army of ants,
A-walk on a stalk, everyone in a trance;
Over and under a number of plants.
Too busy for beauty, not even a glance. 
Here is one stanza from Grasshopper Green
Greener than the grass he swings on,
Greener than the stalk he clings on,
Greener than the grass he sings on,
Green, green, green.
Some new-to-me facts...
  • Many butterflies can taste food with their feet
  • The number of spots a ladybug has depends on the number of spots its parents had
  • The lovebug can fly as high as 1,500 feet in the air which is higher than the Empire State Building
Read Bug Off!
  • If you're a teacher looking for a book about insects to share with your students
  • If you're a teacher looking for creative poetry and nonfiction to share with your students
  • If you have an interest in insects
  • If you have an interest in nature photographs

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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