Insect Superpowers by Kate Messner ($25.50, Raincoast Books, Chronicle Kids) is illustrated liked a comic book, showing the super powers of such bugs as Shell of Steel (Texas Ironclad beetle) or the Decapitator (Asian giant hornet). The book offers each bug’s common name, an alias, its super-scientific name, trademark features, size, secret hideout and superpower, along with its archenemy.
Like comic books of the past, there is a lot of slurp, smack, crunch as the insects attack and eat their prey. Despite its comic book look, the illustrations by Jillian Nickell are creepy.
The Asian giant hornet, for example, can wipe out a nest of tens of thousands honeybees in a couple of hours. Luckily, the creatures live in Korea, China, Japan, India and Nepal and that honey buzzards follow these hornets to their nest and eat them in return. As a note, the hornet’s stinger grows to six mm long. Shudder.
As a gross and awful note about the Texas Ironclad beetle:
“Ironclad beetles have such tough exoskeletons that living beetles are sometimes decorated with gems and used as jewelry in Mexico. In 2010, a woman tried to pass through United States Customs and Border Patrol with a living, bejewelled ironclad beetle pinned to her sweater. She didn’t have the correct paperwork for her pet/jewelry and was not allowed to bring it into the United States.”
I don’t like bugs, but I also don’t like them being tortured. What a terrible thing to do.
Also about bugs…
“By now you’ve probably heard that bees are disappearing, but they aren’t the only species at risk. Populations of fireflies, butterflies and ladybugs have all been declining in recent years, too. This middle grade nonfiction explains the growth, spread and recent declines of each of these four types of insects. Exploring human causes, like the Baltimore electric company that collected fireflies to attempt to harness their phosphorescent lighting source, to natural occurrences, like the mysterious colony collapse disorder that plagues bee populations, master nonfiction storyteller Mark Kurlansky shows just how much bugs matter to our world.”
A copy of these books were provided by Raincoast Books for an honest review.
The opinions of Insect Superpowers are my own.