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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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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