Sunday, November 17, 2019

Review: Insect Superpowers by Kate Messner

by Kate Messner
Illustrated by Jillian Nickell
Chronicle Books
Middle Grade Non-Fiction / Graphic
80 pages
ages 8 to 12

Insect Superpowers is an action-packed nonfiction picture book about the incredible insect abilities found in the natural world. Packaged comic book style, this book explores 18 awesomely real superheroes and supervillains, who each possess powers far beyond the average insect.

Meet the Malevolent Mimic, who wickedly disguises itself as a harmless pink orchid only to shred unsuspecting butterflies, or the Great Glue Shooter, who can blast a smelly glue from its face.

• Presents insects as superheroes and supervillains who excel in head-to-head combat, astounding weapons, and extraordinary skills
• All facts are equally real and amazing
• Written by award-winning nonfiction author Kate Messner

Insect Superpowers is the perfect pick for young entomologists, reluctant readers, and any kid who has ever been equally grossed out and fascinated by a bug.

This thrilling look at insects will entertain and educate readers ages 8 to 12 years old, as well as the adults that read with them.

• A wonderful gift for teachers, librarians, and Common Core educators who are looking to teach about insects in a fresh and exciting way
• Perfect for parents and caregivers of science, nature, and bug-obsessed kids
• Great for fans of comic books, superheroes, and graphic novels, as well as reads like Bugs A to Z by Caroline Lawton, Ultimate Bugopedia: The Most Complete Bug Reference Ever by Darlyne Murawski and Nancy Honovich, and Atlas of Animal Adventures by Rachel Williams and Emily Hawkins


Amazing insects finally grab a spot in a comic-like superhero setting, showing off their natural abilities with action-packed flair, which amazingly, sits perfectly in fact and reality.

The cover already sets the tone—this book is set up like an action comic but lets insects for real life take the lead role. Eighteen various insects are presented with basic facts surrounding not only their anatomy and environment, but especially those aspects which set them apart and make the 'super'. It's non-fiction and science set in the excitement only comic books can give.

I can't imagine readers won't enjoy picking up this book. Not only are insects interesting and maybe, a bit creepy, but this books screams fun in facts. The illustrations keep the bug rather true to life (in comic style), allow the factual settings and situations to remain solid, and shove in a bit of active fun. Phrases like Bzooommm! and Crunch! add excitement and a great amount of humor. The text offers everything from the scientific name to average size and diet to habitat and special facts. It is information pure.

The 'super' side of these insects is also explained in easy to understand details, while creating an atmosphere of awe, adventure and fun. It is not a dry read, but bounces with energy and promises that even more reluctant readers won't feel overwhelmed or bored. I can imagine young readers picking this one up without being coaxed by adults and enjoying every page.

And here they are...

The Author...
Kate Messner is the award-winning author of Over and Under the Snow and more than a dozen other books for young readers. She lives on Lake Champlain with her family.

The Illustrator...
Jillian Nickell is a freelance illustrator, screen printer, and teacher living in Chicago, Illinois. Her work has been included in the Society of Illustrators' Illustrators 52 and Illustrators 55 award shows and book publications.

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