Friday, August 8, 2014

5 Favorite Bug Books

Ever since my youngest was born she has been in love with being outside. She will constantly stand next to the back door shouting, "Outside! Outside!" Or, much to my chagrin, my child-proofing will have failed me when I find her on top of our counter, staring out the back window at the birds. Sadly, the tragic flaw for my nautre loving 2-year-old is that she is always covered with bug bites. My grandmother would have said she has sweet blood, if she were still alive.

Summers in the south are marked by hot, hazy, mosquito filled days. And the mosquitoes were putting a damper on our love for the outdoors. My daughter's legs were covered with bites that she would scratch until they were bloody and swollen. I was constantly trying to cover them up with band-aids to keep them from getting infected. In fact, things had been so bad, we opted to have our yard treated. The day after having the yard treated, I immediately broke out in hives when I walked through our yard. The bugs like us, but we don't like all the nasty pesticides used to keep the bugs away.

This is why I was delighted when my dear friend Lauren sent me some Bug Wax she sells through the company she started with her husband: Redbeard Brew Bars. This stuff rocks. My kids love the way it smells and feels when they put it one, and I love the way it keeps the bugs at bay, knowing that it does not contain any harsh chemicals.

Lauren and Zeb took an amazing leap of faith last year when they left their jobs to focus on family and starting a new business. Together, they refined the art of making natural soaps from homemade brew. They have since expanded their business by opening a shop called the Redbeard Post Exchange, which sells veteran made, hand-crafted products.

In honor of our new found ability to venture back into the outdoors armed with our Redbeard Bug Wax, I have selected five of our favorite bug books.

1. Diary of a Fly by Doreen Cronin (Author), Harry Bliss (Illustrator)

Written in the form of a diary, the tale of Fly is hysterically laid out as he has to compete with a multitude of bothers and sisters for attention. Thankfully, he has both Worm and Spider as friends to guide him through the challenges of bug adolescence.

My oldest giggles each time we read through this book. It is humorous and entertaining, with bright pictures and engaging text that melts into the illustrations.

2. Bugs by the Numbers by Sharon Werner (Author)
This educational, non-fiction book details amazing and sometimes unbelievable facts about bugs using numbers.

In our scientifically driven house, we have poured over this book over and over again. I have heard my daughter citing the strange and unique facts with an excitement and enthusiasm for learning. This book is fantastic. We love it. 

3. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale by Verna Aardema (Author), Leo Dillon (Illustrator), Diane Dillon (Illustrator)

This tale is based on West African folklore, bringing the lost art of oral storytelling into picture book form.

While some use this book to teach cause and effect, we use this book to discuss how other cultures came up with explanations for things beyond their understanding. It reminds me of the Aboriginal story, How the Birds Got Their Colours, magically explaining science with imagination.

4. This is Your Life Cycle by Heather Lynn Miller (Author), Michael Chesworth (Illustrator)  

Shaped after the old television show, "This is Your Life," This is Your Life Cycle takes one bug on the journey from egg until the end of her dragonfly days. The colorful water color illustrations bring to life the various bugs that torment and comfort Dahlia the Dragonfly as she reminiscences her life.

My daughter had no clue why I found this book so amusing, which added a layer of delight when there is adult humor to keep the parent entertained. She enjoyed the game show style of the book mostly because she is always engaged when there are word bubbles for the speech.

5.  I Like Bugs (Step-Into-Reading, Step 1) by Margaret Wise Brown (Author), G. Brian Karas (Illustrator)

This poem by Margaret Wise Brown, which was originally published in The Friendly Book (Little Golden Book), is given a new life with the brightly colored illustrations by G. Brian Karas.

My oldest never really liked the Step into Reading books when she was learning to read, but this one was a huge hit. I think it is because the poem wasn't written with the intent of being a "learning to read" poem. Kids can tell these things. The illustrations are fantastic for a Step into Reading book. While my oldest has outgrown the simple text, it has now found a home on my youngest daughter's bookshelves. Little J loves bugs, and this book suits her well.

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  1. Great book list! Interesting shop. My husband keeps his beard year-round, as it helps protect his face while he jumps on and off trains. May have to check out some "beer'd conditioner." :)

    1. Your husband jumps on and off trains? That has me intrigued! Is he a train engineer? I do know that they use all the products they make, but not having a beard myself I wouldn't know how the conditioner works. ;-)

    2. He's a freight conductor, which means he sometimes acts as a brakeman or switchman, too. In the winter, he keeps it pretty bushy, because it can be pretty cold! He had actually heard of this shop, and as a former Marine, he's pretty enthusiastic. We'll have to kick an order their way next pay period. :)


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