nonfiction nuggets…about realio, coolio, insects…from the orange marmalade archives

Originally published September 9, 2010

Insect Detective, by Steve Voake, illustrated by Charlotte Voake

Right now, all around you, thousands of insects are doing strange and wonderful things.  But you can’t always see them right away.  Sometimes you have to know where to look.

Actually, to be an insect detective you sometimes have to listen, track, lift, count legs, and snoop around a bit.  You sometimes might want to bury a jam jar in the ground, or put a glowing lantern outside at night, or mix up some sugary insect-gatorade in order to attract the insects you long to see.  You have to look closely in odd places and you have to look carefully where there doesn’t even seem to be anything hiding because sometimes insects look just like leaves, or twigs.

But if you are an insect detective, you will be rewarded with awesomeness!  Perhaps with tiny insects building massive nests out of paper they create in their own  mouths!  Perhaps with scary -looking creatures, or beautiful, jewel-like creatures, or sparkling, irridescent-winged dragons! 



This is a lovely book, written clearly and briefly enough that a 3 or 4 year old can understand it, yet with such tender beauty and awe that all of us can enjoy it.  The pen-and-watercolor illustrations are beautiful, airy delights.  At the book’s end, there are a number of clever ideas for attracting insects to your backyard to get a closer look, and they are truly quite manageable .  There’s still time before the hard frosts set in to potter around outdoors a bit and follow up on the inspiration sure to come from this book.  Great book for inspiring some beautiful watercolor work, as well.  Check it out!