100 Bugs!: A Counting Book (Kate Narita)

Hello, friends! Our book today is 100 Bugs!: A Counting Book, written by Kate Narita and illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman, a colorful and engaging interactive book for young entomologists.

A brother and sister wake up, excited to start their day – they’re going bug-counting, and you’re invited to join! Each two-page spread features ten individuals of a different creepy crawly species, the rhyming text inviting the reader to find the insects among the sunny scenery and flowers. The center spread allows for more counting fun, allowing readers to seek-and-find up to fifty of the animals. At last, the siblings retire for the day, proud of their work – all together, you and they have counted 100 bugs.

What a delightful book of beasties! Combining arithmetic with bug spotting, the theme encourages curious little minds to look for and identify insects while also honing their math skills. And while the repeating rhyme scheme felt a little awkward at first, by the end I started to find the rhythm. The art is the star here, creating bright, colorful rural scenes and chipper characters that embody summer and childhood curiosity, and the many bugs are lifelike yet nonthreatening. The length is fine for any little Bookworm, and JJ really enjoyed both the insects and the arithmetic. A lovely book for budding scientists and/or mathematicians, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Do Doodlebugs Doodle?: Amazing Insect Facts (Corinne Demas & Artemis Roehrig)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Do Doodlebugs Doodle?: Amazing Insect Facts, written by Corinne Demas and Artemis Roehrig and illustrated by Ellen Shi, a fun look at insects and what inspires their often curious names.

Do dragonflies breathe fire? Do booklice have library cards? Do yellowjackets wear yellow jackets? These are the whimsical questions posed to the reader, followed quickly by a short explanation of how these oddly-named creatures actually earned their monikers. Little bookworms can learn about water boatmen, horseflies, stinkbugs and more, both on their respective pages and with additional information in the back.

Clever and fun! For any kid who might be interested in insects, this is a fantastic look at some common and lesser-known species that is light, easy to read through in a sitting, and packed with fun facts. The art is cute, and does a great job of including both boys and girls of various skintones playing with and examining the bugs. There was one entry I didn’t love: the story of how kissing bugs get their name (by biting the faces of people and animals), accompanied with an illustration of a distressed-looking child covered in bites, could absolutely upset some young readers. But for the little bug-enthusiast, this is an overall winner. The length was fine for a quick read, JJ enjoyed the “buggies”, and we’re calling this one Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Little Ant And The Butterfly (S.M.R. Saia)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Little Ant And The Butterfly, written by S.M.R. Saia and illustrated by Tina Perko, a modernization of the classic fable by Aesop.

Little Ant is very proud to be an ant, which is quite obviously the best type of insect to be. He works hard, can lift very heavy things, and has many different special ant tricks to help him find food and home. After finding a cake crumb one day, he happens by a friendly, slow-moving caterpillar. Incensed by how lazy and unmotivated he perceives the caterpillar to be (compared to his industrious nature), he scolds her for not going fast, and not searching out food beyond the leaves and grass around her. The caterpillar takes this in stride, mentioning that she is working towards betterment in her own way. These interactions continue, culminating in the ant chastising the caterpillar as she wraps herself in a thick blanket for an extended sleep. Soon, however, the ant runs into the caterpillar one more time – and is very surprised to find that she has gone through some major changes.

Very nice! Self-published books can often vary pretty wildly in quality, but this one definitely one of the best we’ve read so far! I loved the modern take on a classic and timeless lesson about not being judgmental and showing respect to others, along with some cool facts about ants and butterflies for young readers. The texts reads well, and the story is entertaining yet concise, much like the original. The illustrations are minimalist, but very expressive, and define the characters’ emotions well. My only complaint was that the ending was a little abrupt, but otherwise, this was a neat story with a good length, and JJ and I really enjoyed it. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Du Iz Tak? (Carson Ellis)

Hello! Our book today is Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis, a strange and wonderful look at a very small piece of the world.

Spotting a sprout in the ground, “Du iz tak?” one little bug asks of another in their special language (an invented tongue created by Ellis for the book), meaning “What is this?” It’s a small flower growing from the ground, and with the help of a few of their insect friends, they nurture the sprout and watch it grow, making a treehouse in its foliage. As the year passes, the readers watches how this tiny corner of the world grows, develops, and wilts with winter to return again in spring.

This was an adorable, if somewhat unusual book. As previously mentioned, all of the characters speak in a made-up language, which makes up the entirety of the text. The language is simple enough to decipher meaning and inflection through the lovely, folksy illustrations, and honestly fun to read, but I can imagine it being slightly confusing for some baby bookworms (JJ included). That being said, older kids would love it – translating the dialogue in the reader’s imagination is half the fun of the book. Still, JJ loved this one – the detailed illustrations are full of charm, and the concept of keeping the frame of view on the same setting page-to-page really makes it feel as though the reader is privy to a small, secret world where insects build treehouses and play fiddle by the light of the moon. The length is fine, and this is definitely a book that could grow with little ones. Baby Bookworm approved!