Almost every child I have ever had the pleasure of knowing has been fascinated by bugs, which usually also involved some form of "playing " with them... Yucky Worms by Vivian French, with pictures by Jessica Ahlberg, illustrator of the Toon Tellegen's marvelous forest books, the first of which is The Squirrel's Brithday and other Parties and Insect Detective, written by Steve Voake, author of the excellent chapter book series Daisy Dawson and illustrated by his cousin, Charlotte Voake. If you can only buy two books for the little bug lovers in your life, these are the two you MUST have. Both read a bit like a story but are chock full of information and, best of all, both books have an index at the end of the book that is accompanied by sections called "How to Be a Bug Detective" and "How to Be a Wormologist," respectively.
Yucky Worms is definitely one of those books for toddlers who are just starting to develop their information databases and can repeat back fascinating facts that usually catch adults off guard. Besides very funny thought bubbles for the worms throughout the book, there is a diagram of a worm's parts as well as other interesting facts.
The story of the book, which is printed in a different font from the scientific information, begins in a backyard and follows a little boy and his grandmother as they spend the morning gardening. When Grandma digs up a worm, the little boy says, "Yuck! Throw it away!" And the story begins.
Insect Detective takes a more global approach to bug hunting and begins with the words, "Right now, all around you, thousands of insects are doing strange and wonderful things. but you can't always see them right away."
As with Yucky Worms, the story and facts are printed in different text in Insect Detective. A slightly more rambling look at the tiny worlds that exist around us and at our feet, Insect Detective asks readers to listen and look, dig and delve as they explore the world of bugs. From wasps and ants to moths and caterpillars, Charlotte Voake's airy watercolor invite the reader to explore the illustrations just as Steve Voake's text invites the reader to explore the natural world.
Vivian French and Charlotte Voake have also teamed up to create Caterpillar Caterpillar, which is part of Candlewick Press's Read and Wonder series of paperback non-fiction that read like beautifully illustrated picture book, filled with information on the animal and natural world and just right for the new reader (and explorer).