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Children's LiteratureCockroaches is one volume of Bridgestone's "World of Insects" series intended for new or struggling readers and created according to certain guidelines. Text appears on the right side of each one-page chapter (of which there are eight), with a color photograph, a map, or a life cycle drawing on the left. Vocabulary is controlled; the style is simple and forthright. The information appears correct; the six photos of these ancient insects are well chosen to illustrate the corresponding text. That being said, one wonders how useful the slender books can be, considering their price. For beginning readers the text, which is necessarily brief, may provide enough information (especially for those forced to live with cockroaches); older readers will probably demand more, no matter what level their reading skills. Teachers and librarians must weigh the advantages of easy access against the question of motivation on the part of students reluctant to delve into a book. Surely a livelier format and imaginative illustrations, combined with a wealth of intriguing information, could provide greater appeal for a subject not inherently endearing. Books like L. Patricia Kite's colorful and lively Cockroaches (Lerner, 2001) or Janell Cannon's prizewinning Crickwing (Harcourt, 2000), which transforms a wounded cockroach into a hero and artist, may prove to be better bargains. On the other hand, in well-endowed libraries and media centers this could be a good introductory series for the youngest readers. For those truly fascinated by these survivors from prehistoric times, however, much more research will be imperative. 2006, Capstone, Ages 6 to 9.
—Barbara L. Talcroft