Book Review - Nasty Bugs

Author/Editor: Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrator:  Will Terry
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers (March 15, 2012)
Source:  Personal Copy
Audience: Ages 7 and up
Poetry * Insects

Description of book from publisher website:
A collection of creepy, crawly poems by some of today's most beloved children's poets This tribute to the delightful nastiness of bugs features sixteen poems by accomplished children's poets, including Marilyn Singer, J. Patrick Lewis, and Rebecca Andrew Loescher. From "Ode to a Dead Mosquito" to "Termite Tune," this brightly illustrated, kid-friendly collection riffs on the details of the world's most infamous insects. Fun facts about the featured creatures round out this sure bet for poetry fans and bug enthusiasts alike. 

My thoughts on this book:
A poetry book with a decided ick factor!  Where was this book my first year of teaching when I had to do a unit on insects?  This collection of sixteen poems featuring the work of sixteen poets including Bennett Hopkins spotlights everything from stink bugs to mosquitoes to lice and bedbugs.  The last few pages of the book has a reference section that lists each of the bugs and some general information on them.

When I began to read this book, I initially expected all of the poems to be by Bennett Hopkins.  Instead, I quickly discovered that each poem was written by a different poet. (Yes, I did not look at the table of contents before I started reading it.) As soon as I realized that the poems were from various poets, I was on the look out to see who had contributed and which bug they would be writing about.  Imagine my delight to discover some of my favorite poets such as Marilyn Singer (Disagreeable Fleas) and Kristine O'Connell George (Bedbug Has a Bite to Eat).

The poems in this anthology are great.  However, I must give kudos to Will Terry for some truly fabulous illustrations.  I just may be taping shut the two page spread with giant size lice crawling through hair which creeped me out and made me want to scratch my head.  To be fair to Terry, the bright cartoonish drawings add a certain fun to each of the poems and certainly ties them all together.

This is one book of poems that can be taken off the shelves for more than one purpose.  Teachers and librarians can use it as part of a collection of books to celebrate National Poetry Month.  The poems found within the covers of the collection can be used to mentor young poets and inspire them to create their own poems about their favorite buggy bug.  Additionally, the book can be used to accompany a science unit on insects.  With the need to focus on writing across the content areas, books such as Nasty Bugs are particularly helpful.

I can't wait to share this one with teachers and students when we return from spring break.  If you have used it with students already, please share how you used the book in the comment section.      

If this review hasn't convinced you to check out the book, click here to read an interview done by Two Writing Teachers with Lee Bennett Hopkins specifically about this book.