The Big Book of Bugs

posted in: Yuval Zommer | 10

bugcoverA sumptuous, outsized guide to marvelling at minibeasts, The Big Book of Bugs by Yuval Zommer (@yuvalzommer) with Bug Expert Barbara Taylor is an example par excellence of the new variety of non-fiction for kids which brings facts and fascination together with fabulous illustration.

Organised bug by bug, young readers can learn about everything from centipedes to stick insects and pond bugs to praying mantises. Each double-page spread opens with an invitation to be curious – a question posed about the bug in focus, followed by four or five bite sizes bursts of facts, all so stunningly illustrated that the bugs featured look more like jewels than slimy, spooky creepy crawlies.

Information about habitats, spotting and encouraging bugs, and how different bugs are related to each other enrich an already rewarding catalogue of critters. An accessible glossary and detailed index provide the finishing touches to a truly delightful, beautiful and bold introduction to bugs.

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Having read The Big Book of Bugs, we couldn’t resist making our own bugs, using elastic bands, cotton reels, pipe insulation and the tutorial in this video.

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Before long we were having bug races across the kitchen table…

I never knew have a bunch of creepy crawlies on my kitchen table could be so much fun!

Whilst making our scuttling bugs we listened to:

  • The Ugly Bug Ball by Burl Ives
  • Bug Family by The Bug Family Band
  • Love Bug by Raffi


  • Other activities which might work well alongside reading The Big Book of Bugs include:

  • Making a pooter, so you can observe bugs up close. Here’s a tutorial from BBC Wildlife Magazine
  • Creating bug spotter sticks to use in your garden. Sun Hats and Wellie Books shows you how
  • Collecting snail shells and then using them with playdoh to make your own snails! I know my kids will want to do this activity from Mother Natured
  • Reading M. G. Leonard’s superb Beetle Boy. The Big Book of Bugs is ideal for 4-7 year olds, and for older siblings Leonard’s Kafka-meets-Roald-Dahl story is perfect


  • If you liked this post you might like these other posts by me:

  • Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Harry Bliss, along with making mud cake rich with worms and chocolate leaves
  • Whose Garden Is It? by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Jane Dyer, and how we created a 5* bee hotel
  • Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian by Margarita Engle and Julie Paschkis, and the butterfly dressing up this book inspired
  • bugextras

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    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.

    10 Responses

    1. Simone Fraser

      Zoe, I sincerely believe you should publish your projects with the girls ass a hard copy, and naturally call it “Playing By The Book.” I would/will buy at least three copies. I enjoyed today’s activity images just as much as the book that inspired them, if not more!

    2. How wonderful! Love the illustrations in this book, but also love all your ideas to follow up with the books with the children.

    3. This is absolutely stunning, love it 100 %…
      se7en recently posted..Se7en’s Fabulous Friday Fun #310

    4. maria cristina

      Zoe, fully endorse the idea of publishing a book of projects! Hope the idea crystallizes soon!
      Best wishes and congratulations for the creative work you and the girls do.
      Maria-Cristina

    5. This looks like just the sort of book I’ve been looking for for Bagl, he has A LOT of questions about everything at the moment and I keep trying to make time to find him some books to help us both find the answers (to his disappointment I sadly cannot answer everything) but often get overwhelmed or a bit uninspired, if you can be both of those things at once. This books looks just right for him though, clear and simple text, interesting facts and lovely illustrations to hold a nearly 4 year old’s attention. If the library doesn’t get it in it may be one of my rare straight-to-buys!
      Katherine recently posted..What does making mean to you?

      • One of the things I really like about it Katherine is that in addition to fabulous illustration, there is still a lot of information in it – some of the new generation of NF seem to have focussed primarily on WOW illustration, at the expense of written content, but I think this is well pitched for its target age group and with real information as well as beauty.
        Zoe recently posted..The Big Book of Bugs

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