Gr 2-4-A young child observes a cecropia moth emerge from its cocoon and narrates the event, projecting the rest of the insect's life cycle (i.e., the adult female will probably mate, lay eggs, and die a few days after leaving the cocoon; its eggs will hatch into larvae and molt several times before entering the pupal stage themselves). The text is well organized and succinctly written in a simple style that conveys the narrator's sense of wonder. Excellent-quality full-color photographs appear on every page, depicting each stage in the moth's development. A five-page appendix, arranged in a question-and-answer format, gives more detailed information. Loosely organized, it also introduces and defines a number of scientific terms not mentioned in the main text. Guidelines for collecting and keeping a caterpillar or cocoon are also included. However, it is not made clear that the insects should be fed leaves from the plants from which they were collected. While the cecropia moth is mentioned in Robert Mitchell and Herbert Zim's Butterflies and Moths (Western, 1991) and Ron and Nancy Goor's Insect Metamorphosis (Atheneum, 1990), little in-depth information is available. The beautifully illustrated Night Flier will help fill a gap, especially in libraries in the Eastern U.S., where this moth is found.-Karey Wehner, San Francisco Public Library
Ring presents the life cycle of the cecropia moth through the eyes of a child who has watched the creature hatch from its cocoon. Written as though the child is speaking directly to the moth, the text is lyrical as well as occasionally awkward and flowery: "In a very short while you will mate. In fact, your mate may be seeking you now. His feathery antennae, waving like plumes over his head, will lead him to your side." Still, the information imparted is solid and nicely organized, and the full-color close-up photographs are wonderful. Ring is a former editor of "Ranger Rick" magazine, and some of the text and photographs used here appeared in a 1989 "Ranger Rick" article. An extensive, straightforward question-and-answer fact section at the end of the book provides a wealth of additional information.