Strange Nature: The Insect Portraits of Levon Biss

Abrams. Mar. 2021. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781419731662.
Gr 2-4–The cover of this insect-centered title will attract readers right away. The introduction describes how a boy’s interest in the bugs in his backyard piqued the curiosity of his father, a professional photographer. The father, Levon Biss, usually photographs famous people, but this project took him to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Biss met naturalists who allowed him to “borrow” specimens of a variety of insects and photograph them using new and interesting cameras, lights, and other equipment so that each insect was photographed many times and in microscopic detail. The bugs were not alive because live insects would not have stayed still for their pictures to be taken. The photos were then enlarged to 10 feet and displayed in museums. Each spread shows a photo of the insect on the verso page with inserts, arrows, and explanatory text. The recto shares the insect’s name, location in the world, and size in millimeters. A short paragraph describes the insect, with a few facts in a box below. The detailed facts are sometimes tongue-in-cheek when describing bodily functions. The text also shares when scientists have not discovered details that might add to our understanding of some of these insects. The book ends with a glossary and a website for learning more about microsculpture.
VERDICT This fascinating title should not be missed. Readers who love insects, those who are fascinated with new forms of photography and its connections to the study of science, and teachers looking for new ways to interest students in science will love reading and using this book.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing