NONFICTION

Insect Superpowers: 18 Real Bugs That Smash, Zap, Hypnotize, Sting, and Devour!

Chronicle. Nov. 2019. 80p. pap. $17.99. ISBN 9781452139104.
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Gr 3-7–Messner celebrates 18 insects’ “superpowers” using large, informative comic-book style sequences, pithy chapter titles (“Great Imposters,” “Big and Tough,” “Masters of Chemical Weaponry”), clever phrases (“the malevolent mimic,” “the great glue shooter,” “the sonar smasher”), and large-print exclamations. Sidebars and inserts include each insect’s common and scientific name and other information such as physical features, secret hideout, superpower, favorite food, allies, and archenemy. Comic book–style sequences show the insect in action. The termite, described as “the great glue shooter” because of how it wards off ant attacks, is depicted in a four-page spread confronting an ant and accompanied by other termite soldiers. An afterword emphasizes that all the information in the book is true, even though some insects have powers that rival fictional superheroes.
VERDICT The book’s unique format is both informative and appealing. While it is a fine mentor text for young readers and writers of nonfiction, it is also highly recommended for browsing and enjoyment.

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