Bugs get a close-up in this new book of poetry that shows off their thousands of eyes, bucktooth incisors, prickly exteriors and more. Frederic B. Siskind’s wonderfully creepy full-color photographs and Kelly Murphy’s cartoony black-and-white illustrations are abuzz with activity alongside J. Patrick Lewis’s witty verses about insects and spiders. Some bugs are cleverly camouflaged, while others flaunt their colors, but they all have something worth celebrating, even the slimy-seeming Eastern Dobsonfly. Lewis writes that ode in the voice of Mrs. Dobsonfly: “I love you, Mr. Dobsonfly./ Why?/ Because of your huge mandible!/ (Understandable)/ Because your life is mostly larval./ (A river marvel).” Lewis’s silly rhymes and unpardonable puns are matched by his entertaining way of conveying information and his killer endings. Here are the last words of a Bush Katydid: “To an orange, I say, ‘Hey, breakfast!’/ On tree bark, I grow fat./ To sunlight, I’m a magnet./ To windshields, I’m a . . . SPLAT!”

Abby McGanney Nolan


By J. Patrick Lewis

Photographs by Frederic B. Siskind

”Face Bug” by J. Patrick Lewis, Kelly Murphy and Fred Siskind. (Wordsong)

Illustrations by Kelly Murphy

Wordsong, $16.95, Ages 6 to 10