Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Non-Fiction Pick: Wicked Bugs: the Louse That Conquered Napoleon's Army & Other Diabolical Insects
by Amy Stewart
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
272 pages with index and bibliography
Sinisterly intriguing, wildly interesting, dangerously entertaining, Wicked Bugs will bother you after you turn off the lights at night. You may wonder, is that just a harmless itch? or do we have bed bugs? Or, you may not want to travel to other countries after reading about their strange and dangerous bugs.
Wickedly entertaining, this plethora of entomological information will delight fans of non-fiction who love a quick read rife with interesting facts and historical anecdotes.
Stewart warns us that she is neither a scientist nor an entomologist; that this little book is not a field guide or a reference book for the medical field. She informs the reader that she is "a writer who is fascinated with the natural world." In my opinion, she's much more than that; she is an entertainer, a creative writer, and a great storyteller.
The book is divided into categories: horrible bugs, painful bugs, deadly bugs, dangerous bugs, and destructive bugs. Stewart writes, "It is estimated that there are ten quintillion insects alive on the planet right now, which means that for each one of us, there are two hundred million of them." That fact alone should make readers want to read more about these fantastic creatures that are taking over our world.
Did you know that the black widow only bites when it feels trapped? In the golden, olden days of outdoor plumbling (outhouses) many a person found out about their painful bite in a rather sensitive place. As a person would sit down to "do his business," he would inadvertently block the seat off and any spider hiding under it would feel trapped. The spider would bite the human where it hurts the most!
For those non-fiction readers, those reluctant readers, those teen readers who hate novels, Amy Stewart continues to deliver fantastic compendiums that appeal to their tastes. Her earlier book, Wicked Plants is reviewed here.
Highly, highly recommended for readers grades 6 and up. Recommended for all non-fiction collections. Grade 4 and 5 advanced readers should have no trouble reading and comprehending the content.
FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.