In the next couple of days we will receive our ladybug larvae. Over the coming weeks we’ll watch those larvae become pupa and then adult ladybugs. It’s always a fun experience (if a bit stressful for me as I don’t like to be responsible for ensuring living things continue living). In preparation we’ve been exploring some things about ladybugs, including the physical and behavioral adaptations that help them survive.
This was perfect because it let me bring in another book I wanted to read for our Mock Orbis Award exploration. The book is Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Stephanie Laberis.
It starts off with two tiny little animals and continues throughout looking at many animals that were completely new to me. There are familiar names (koala, armadillo, tortoise) but there are also okapi, Etruscan pygmy shrews, hoatzins, and zorillas. (Those last two are uncommon enough that my browser is convinced I misspelled them. I did not.)
The illustrations are whimsical, as you can see from the cover, and they match well with the writing style in this book. Melissa Stewart is such a skilled writer. She has authored titles for several nonfiction series that I know and love: Which Animal is Which? series, National Geographic Kids, and A True Book series. I didn’t even realize how many of her books I owned until I did a little research after reading this one.
The pages don’t have a lot of text on them, just a sentence or few on each one. It’s perfect. There’s enough there to give you some good, interesting, and fun information and to spark some great conversations. The very end of the book has just a little more about each of the animals, for those readers who aren’t ready to quit.
It was also perfect as a match to our work in science this week. Thinking about the physical and behavioral adaptations of all of these animals deepened my students’ understanding of those ideas. And they were having such fun with the book they likely didn’t even notice!