Reviews for Bug Off! : Creepy, Crawly Poems


Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
"For oh, you are / a lovely fly. / Just / do not go / and multiply." Accompanied by excellent close-up photographs and a factual paragraph about the featured insect, these lighthearted rhymes capture each bug s essence. After the fly, Yolen profiles a praying mantis, butterfly, lovebug, tick (with one questionable fact), as well as seven other creatures.

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Kirkus Reviews 2012 March #2
Mother and son collaborate once more (Birds of a Feather, 2011, etc.), creating a group of poems and photographs that celebrate some well-known creepy crawlies. Fly, praying mantis, butterfly, ants, honey bee, lovebug, daddy longlegs, spider, dragonfly, tick, ladybug and grasshopper each take a spread, the photo opposite a page of text that includes the poem and a paragraph of facts. Most of Yolen's poems rhyme, and an author's note encourages readers to create their own poems, with a caution that they choose their words wisely, using the lightning-versus–lightning bug quote from Mark Twain to support this. But some nature-minded readers may see Yolen as not taking her own advice. There is sometimes a disconnect between the beauty of the photographs and the more joking tone and anthropomorphizing of some of the poems. A spider's tired joke about the World Wide Web is a stark contrast to these lovely lines, for instance: "A flittering cloud, / a crowd / of creeps. / And then, as if / an unseen broom / sweeps / skimmingly / across the sky, / the swarm is gone / in a blink / of an eye." Stemple's photographs are the true stars of this book. His macro views show such details as the rainbow colorations on a fly's wings, the serrations on a grasshopper's rear legs and the many units that make up the lovebug's compound eyes. A bug-themed companion to their previous collaborations. (Poetry. 5-10) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 February #4

The team behind A Mirror to Nature and Wild Wings offers another striking pairing of poems and photographs about the natural world, in this case the mysterious lives of insects. Each poem (and photograph) is a careful observation of its subject, whether a graceful butterfly ("A tutu-clad dancer,/ I move with lightness") or a tick ("The tick is mostly mouth,/ and if he lands on you/ he'll try to suck your blood,/ 'cause that's what all ticks do"). Each spread also includes a short prose passage with additional information and observations. Regarding a swarm of insects, Yolen writes, "Jason and I don't actually know which bugs are swarming or why.... Sometimes nature is like that." Ages 5-up. Agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. (Apr.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 July

Gr 3-5--A few of the insects and arachnids highlighted here are a bit villainous, but the teaser title is a tad misleading. The tick sucks blood and leaves some ick, but sometimes the poet conveys more complex and even contradictory ideas of an insect. Regarding a dragonfly, she writes: "He lights upon a bit of grass/With angel wings of dark-stained glass./But alien his stranger's face,/A visitor from outer space./I wonder if he knows that he/Is monstrous to one like me." Stemple's magnified photographs offer bold, intriguing views, though the dramatic partial view of the praying mantis, for instance, in no way conveys the imagery of the poem or the accompanying factual description. As in their many previous volumes, Yolen and Stemple add a small blurb of nonfiction, varied in length and scope, to the paired poem and photograph in each double-page entry. Playful in word use, the poems employ a pleasing array of rhyme schemes in well-shaped verses and an occasional limerick. Some references will likely elude many readers. "An army of ants in their working-class pants,/'They don't stop for movies, they don't stop to dance./An all-female work force, their food stores enhance,/Toiling too hard to consider romance." The author's opening note encourages readers to write poetry, and the book might be used to spark children's creative responses to nature. The bold jacket will attract browsers while the most likely readers would seem to be children and adults who favor nature-poetry picture books.--Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston

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