My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis

illus. by Paul Meisel. 40p. glossary. websites. Holiday House. Feb. 2017. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9780823436712.
K-Gr 2—P. Mantis joins the world on a beautiful sunny spring day in May. She is happy to share the aphid-covered bush on which she is born with her 150 brothers and sisters. As she doesn't yet have wings, her defenses against predators include pretending to be a stick and blending in with her environment using camouflage. P. Mantis sheds her skin several times as she grows quickly over the course of the summer. When the aphids are gone, P. Mantis snacks on other insects, including her own siblings. When her wings finally come in, P. Mantis can move about more freely, but there are many dangers to avoid—spider webs, flying bats and birds, and other hungry creatures. In October, P. Mantis returns to the bush where she was born to lay her own egg case, which will hatch in the spring. As winter approaches, she settles into a deep sleep. Meisel uses gorgeous, vividly painted illustrations and a gentle text to share the story of the life cycle of a praying mantis. The book is formatted like a series of first-person journal entries, and it is easy to follow the journey of the young mantid. Children will learn the time line for each developmental stage that the insect goes through. Although the circle of life can be harsh at times, this tale is told in a light and even humorous way. Back matter is chock-full of facts that will pique the interest of those eager to learn more.
VERDICT The perfect introduction to the life cycle of the praying mantis for those ready to handle a mantid-eat-mantid world.

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