Author: Kristine Duehl
Illustrator: Katy Castronovo
Year published: 2012
Publisher: Kristine Duehl & Katy Castronovo
Number of pages: 20
Recommended age: 2+
Reviewed by: Renee and Dominic (Mother and Son)
Purchase: Our Bookstore
Summary (Amazon): A biologist mom and an artist mom teamed together to create a fun and factual children’s book series that uses kids innate fascination with nature to teach them about the world around them. Am I an Insect? is the first book in the series. This multi-level, inquiry based book teaches about the characteristics of insects and is great for children of all ages.
1. What is the book about? This book teaches us about insects and how to tell if something is an insect.
2. What do you think of the cover and/or the pictures in the book? I love the cover and the pictures in the book. I like all of the pictures.
3. What is your favorite part of the book? I like how the book asks you to guess if something is an insect or not and then it tells you what and why it is or not. For example, it asks if a spider is an insect. The answer is “no” because it has eight legs and insects all have six legs. A butterfly is an insect because insects that fly have two pairs of wings and butterflies have two pairs of wings so it is an insect.
4. What is your least favorite part of the book? I loved everything about this book and there’s nothing I didn’t like about it. Not even close.
5. What did you learn from this book? I learned that insects all have six legs but also if they have two pairs of wings they are insects too. I learned about exoskeletons and endoskeletons. Exoskeletons are on the outside and all insects have exoskeletons. Endoskeletons are on the inside of bodies like we have. All insects have three part bodies: a head, a thorax, and an abdomen (that’s a tummy!). I learned lots about insects!
6. Who do you think would like this book? I want to read this book every day and when I did the review, I reread it because I liked it so much. It was easy for me to read and my Mom only had to help with a couple hard words like abdomen. I think both kids and parents would like this book. I want to give the book 5.5 stars.
Son Rating: ★★★★★
What I liked and disliked: I had the distinct pleasure of being read to by my son who, with the greatest of ease, shared this fabulous book with ME! Am I An Insect? is the first book in the Budding Biologist non-fiction series introducing young children to science. In the Budding Biologist books, children take on an active role as a reader by being asked to ponder a series of questions instead of passively receiving information. The results are interesting, educational, and engaging books that teach about on a variety of science topics.
In the very first picture, the reader is shown a diversity of critters including a hummingbird, a butterfly, a spider, an ant, and more and is then asked “Can you guess which of these animals are insects?” On each following page, one of the creatures is depicted and the reader is asked, for example: “Is a ladybug an insect?” The answer is then shared on the next page and a key characteristic of an insect is highlighted: “Yes. How many legs does a ladybug have? All insects have 6 legs.” In this way, the child reading the book (or being read to) can interact with the photos and play the role of scientist/detective.
By focusing on the few key characteristics of an insect (i.e., number of legs, exoskeletons, three-part body, number of wings) and by providing examples of insects and non-insects who either have or don’t have the right combination of these characteristics, the book has just the right amount of information for a young child to digest. The illustrations accompanying the information are bright and colourful and are perfectly simple.
In addition to the books, the Budding Biologist website also includes a number of resources that can be used to supplement the information in the book. These include some colouring pages, ideas for activities, and lesson plans for teachers. Feel free to check out these great resources!
My bottom line: Both my son and I totally loved this book! The educational value, the presentation of information, and the wonderful illustrations all made this book a delight to read. I strongly recommend this book to parents of young children who are just beginning to show signs of interest in science topics – ya know … Budding Biologists!
Mom Rating: ★★★★★
* Budding Biologist – Am I an Insect? was provided to us by the author free-of-charge in exchange for our honest review.*
About the Author:
Kristine Duehl is a PhD candidate at the University of Florida in the Department of Biology. Kris has published in the academic literature for both her research in plant-insect interactions and for science education. She currently lives in Davis, CA and works with the University of California, Davis researchers.
About the Illustrator:
KatyCastronovo has a BFA in Painting and Drawing from Ohio State University and uses various media formats such as carving, painting, and photography in her artwork. She currently lives in Iowa City, IA. She is excited to be bringing together art and science with Budding Biologist.