Bugs. What’s not to love?

Plenty for most of us. Icky, creepy, crawly critters send most of us running. But even ugly pest animals deserve their own books, don’t they?

Cover of book showing acartoon of a housefly talking to a class full of childrenI, Fly: The Buzz about Flies and How Awesome They Are has a housefly narrator who argues the case that ugly bugs are every bit as interesting as the beautiful ones. Along the way he shares lots of amazing housefly facts. (Did you know that houseflies go through metamorphosis?) And in the funny surprise ending, he finally decides to embrace his position as pariah of the insect world.

This is a great example of the book that tiptoes along the border on fiction/nonfiction. The talking housefly is clearly fictional, but the bug facts it shares are squarely on the nonfiction side of things. The fictional narrative framework opens up space for humor and lightness that makes the nonfiction all the more attractive.

Cover of book showing a spider spinning silk around a heart shapeI’m Trying to Love Spiders walks the divide a little differently. The unseen narrator struggles with her aversion to spiders. She shares lots of fascinating facts about spiders but occasionally is startled into smashing her subjects (with a funny handprint in the illustrations instructing us to “Squish here”). This verges into postmodern meta-fiction (like Press Here) but uses it to convey solidly nonfiction content.

I’m not sure if I love bugs, but I loved both of these witty, cleverly-structured books about bugs.

I, Fly: The Buzz About Flies and How Awesome They Are, by Bridget Heos, illustrated by Jennifer Plecas. Henry Holt: 2015.

I’m Trying to Love Spiders, by Bethany Barton. Viking: 2015.

Storytime video of I’m Trying to Love Spiders. 

Children surrounding a globe and the words "Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2016"


I participate in the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy