Animal Planet: The Most Extreme Bugs
By Catherine Nichols
ISBN: 9780787986636
Grades 3-6
In Stores


It’s summertime here in Michigan and the bugs are out in full force. Ants, spiders, and mosquitoes invade my house day and night. Your common, run of the mill insects. Oh, if only a Spiny Devil Katydid would come strolling through the living room carpet, looking for its next meal. Or maybe a Hummingbird Hawk Moth could hover through the kitchen, eager for a little nectar. Then I might have something to write in my (nonexistent) “What I Did This Summer” journal. Ah, well – at least I have Animal Planet’s countdown extravaganza, “The Most Extreme Bugs”, to pour over as I go and grab yet another wad of Kleenex to keep my wainscoting ‘skeeter free.

In the foreword, an Animal Planet producer confesses an affinity for countdown shows. You’ve seen them on cable – “The 100 Most Unforgettable Terribly Great Power Ballads” and the like. The Animal Planet series on which this book is based operates in this format. A topic is selected, and the countdown to number one begins. “Extreme Bugs” goes for some categories with real kid appeal: the strange looking, the speedy, the deadly, the giant – they strive to max out the high interest meter, and succeed pretty swimmingly.

A book like this would be nothing without some stellar photos. “Extreme Insects” passes the cool picture test with flying colors. They’re plentiful, they’re sharp, they’re close-up. Readers will be pleased with the results.

It has nice photos, but does it have information useful to kids? Indeed. Each bug presented comes with a description that does a not too shabby job of giving the specs. Size, weight, habitat and special information are all there. Not a one stop shop for all your insect information needs, but a solid source to be sure.

So as I continue to wage war with my carpenter ants (yawn), do yourself a favor: get your hands on “Most Extreme Insects” and find out how fascinating bugs can be.

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