Creepy, crawly and sometimes not very pretty, earth is home to nearly one million species of insects and these books will introduce kids to some of the more common ones. Helen Frost has written six new books (Cicadas, Moths, Praying Mantises, Walkingsticks, Wasps and Water Bugs) to add to the Pebble Books series entitled "Insects." The book opens with a table of contents, followed by a description of praying mantises using simple declarative sentences. Next, Frost presents some interesting facts that differentiate praying mantises from other insects. For example, some praying mantises eat their mates. The book is full of excellent photographs with labels as appropriate to point out body parts and features. It also contains a list of words to know with definitions, which are written at a higher level than the text, but they do provide additional useful information. There is an up-to-date mini-bibliography, a list of Internet sites and an index. The books support national science standards relating to diversity and unity of life. 2001, Pebble Books/Capstone, $13.25. Ages 5 to 7. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Three kinds of common insects are featured in these mini-introductions. In each, a bare-bones text of one or two sentences per page describes special anatomical features, diet, habitat, and a few behavioral characteristics. A full-page, clear, color photograph of the animal appears opposite each page of text. The best feature of these pint-sized books is the sharply detailed photography depicting the insects; many of the shots are close-ups. The texts, while clearly written, provide only minimal information. As a result, some important data is omitted. For instance, the texts in Moths and Praying Mantises fail to identify their subjects as insects, although that information can be gleaned from the glossaries. Praying Mantises does not explain what lenses are, although the word is used in the text as well as in the glossary. This last title and Walkingsticks do not identify the species depicted in the photos. Rebecca Stefoff's Praying Mantis (Benchmark, 1996) and Patrick Merrick's Walkingsticks (Child's World, 1997) offer excellent photographs and more detailed information on the characteristics of these insects, but are aimed at a slightly higher age level.-Karey Wehner, San Francisco Public Library Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.