Tag Archives: insects

Bad News Bugs

8 Jun

Last week or so (time blurs at the end of the school year) my teaching partner asked me to do her a huge favor: go through the Scholastic and Arrow book orders and spend her 6000 points on books for the kids in her class. I laughed. This wasn’t going to feel like a job at all; this would be a delight.

She has a couple of boys in her class who really like non-fiction, and history in general. One boy, Bryan, has become a biography-nut since our writing unit on biographies. So, for  two of the boys in her class, I chose this book


Bugged: How Insects Changed History by Sarah Albee is a fun romp through some of the icky and funny parts of human history. With chapter titles like

The Horrible History of Human Hygiene

Medieval Microbes

More Thinking but Still Stinking

It’s All Fun & Games Until Someone Loses an Isle

you know Albee will mix a lot of humor with the gruesome to make it palatable. Figuratively, not literally.  each chapter is broken into parts with headings and the illustrations, some originals by Robert Leighton, some reproductions from the period covered, give readers a sense of what life might have looked like at the time.  Each chapter is amply illustrated and has sidebars that add even more zest to the disgusting facts Albee writes about. Backmatter includes a glossary, further reading and surfing, notes of sources, picture credits and an index.This is a well-researched book that every history teacher should have to spice up their units. Upper elementary and middle school teachers would do well to add this to their classroom libraries. But be prepared for groans and gags from the kids as they read it.






I hate when that happens!

8 Oct

I’m part way through In Search of Goliathus Hercules  by Jennifer Angus.


It is due back at the library tomorrow & I can’t renew it because someone else has it on hold. I hate when that happens, especially when I am so enjoying a book.

In 1890, Henri Bell, sent England to stay with his elderly Great Aunt Georgie in America, discovers he can talk to insects. He decides to run away to join a flea circus and embarks on a great adventure that sees him in command of an army of beetles, and then on his way to British Malaya to find the mythical giant insect known as Goliathus Hercules. Along the way, he encounters Professor Young, an entomologist studying insect communication, as well as other explorers and scientists, Malayans, and the evil Mrs. Black.

The book feels old-fashioned, but with a modern sense of pacing. Angus’ illustrations are remarkable.

You can see some of Jennifer Angus’ artwork at The Midnight Garden.

I will return the book on time, but will put it on hold again so I can finish it.

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