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Scholastic Discover More: Bugs by Penelope…
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Scholastic Discover More: Bugs

by Penelope Arlon

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1. Given the recently published book or books you have selected, identify the type of nonfiction into which your book fits, and support why you think it aligns with this category.

bugs from the Scholastic discover more series by Penelope Arlon and Tony Gordon-Harris is an informational science book because it provides the reader with tidbits from an array of different types of invertebrates.

2. Utilizing the evaluation criteria we have studied in class, apply those criteria to the book provided. Be explicit in providing examples.
Although there was no information contained within the text of bugs to indicate Penny Arlon’s qualifications, I looked to the internet to determine her level of expertise regarding bugs. While there, I read that she is an author who specializes in writing children’s nonfiction books, and gets inspiration for subject matter from her children. Her books range in interest from pre-school to family reference. Someone from Amazon mentioned that she wrote Art Attack books, which I looked for and could find no titles from the Art Attack series authored by Penny Arlon. Mike Janson and Neil Buchanan wrote the titles I found. Additionally, she is credited with writing all 14 of the Dorling Kindersley’s Eye Know series, which centers on various scientific subjects. Again, I searched the series to determine her authorship, and Dorling Kindersley wrote the only ones that I found. Had I not researched this information, I would have assume the information provided regarding Penny Arlon was credible since it came from the About the Author section of Amazon, but after searching for further information based on this lead, I’m wondering if she ghost wrote or co-wrote any of these books. I could not find any additional information about her qualifications. However, despite the fact that I was unable to verify her credentials, I did find that she writes primarily for DK, Scholastic Discover More, and Time, all credible publishers; therefore, I would assume that she is credible and qualified to write about scientific topics. In addition, I was not able to give an opinion regarding her scholarship qualifications. There were no indications about whether or not she was degreed.
Most of the book contains factual information. Occasionally, Ms. Arlon includes an opinion, which is supported by fact, for example:
“Wings (topic)
Insects are the only bugs that have wings although not all insects have them. Flying is a great way to get around to escape danger.”
The book itself is one gigantic generalization. She discusses bugs in general; however, she uses specifics in that she discusses specific bugs, and the specific features or characteristics of particular bugs.
Additionally, I would say that parts of the book are highly sensationalized. The cover shot is an extreme close-up of a bug’s face. It almost feels as though the photographer captured a portrait of the animal. It features an alien triangular shaped head with a translucent green nose and mouth region and HUGE blue translucent bug eyes. I am not sure what type of photography was used to capture the shot, but there were images throughout the book that were captured by an electron microscope and it would not surprise me if this were one such image. Many of the photographs within the book are sensationalized because of the use of large, up close, in your face images that depict bugs in usual and sometimes unusual ways. For example, there is an image of a dragonfly eating a cricket on pages 26 and 27. He is simply chomping away at a cricket’s leg as the photographer snaps the photo.
I would say that there was no stereotyping. She seemed fair in her treatment of bugs. Finally, there was no anthropomorphism that I was able to find within the text unless one would consider the humanoid characteristics of the bug in the cover shot.
As for content, the scope of bugs was vast. Ms. Arlon included hundreds of bugs. There were photographs of singular bugs as well as clusters of bugs. Although the information covered was vast, there was no depth in her coverage of bugs. She gave brief snippets of facts that would capture a young reader’s attention. Her focus was singular, a book that discussed bugs, bugs, and more bugs. She featured butterflies and moths, termites, wasps, ants, bees, beetles, arachnids, spiders, etc.
As for style, it features simple clear language that third graders and older children would find appealing. The photos featured would appeal to children six years old and older. The children reading this book would not require any additional background information. The author’s tone seems playful and non-pretentious. It does not seem to take itself too seriously. For example, she has a pie graph on page 19 about titled Insect Species that consists of a photo actual pie that has been subdivided, and another chapter features a bug Hall of Fame, which has photos of bugs that have been framed and hung on a wall as though they are being featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Under each frame is a caption for example, Most Painful Sting, The sting of the bullet ant causes a burning pain that lasts for 24 hours! Or Shortest Adult Life, One kind of mayfly lives for only five minutes as an adult! Both of which add to the sensationalism of the some information. Although both photos and facts are eye catching and interesting, they immediately capture the children’s interest and pulls them into the book. Moreover, with today’s children, who are used to a fast paced world, this is no easy task, to the contrary it is so easy to make bugs boring. Yet, this book is anything but boring, quite the contrary, it is very captivating.
Structurally, the author organizes the material using enumeration. Ms. Arlon gives a topical listing of subjects from general to specific information. She begins the book by discussing bugs in general. What is a bug? How many bug groups are there? What are the bug groups? Then, she gives each group their own featured section throughout the chapters. The information is featured in a two page spread beginning with a topic, usually in question form. Then there is a subheading giving more details about the topic. Normally, the information contained is brief and written in simple sentences that would not offend or intimidate the intended audience. Throughout the book, the author gives the reader snippets of facts that would appeal to a youngster. On page 9, she writes, “97% of the world’s ANIMALS are invertebrates, and Bug history; Invertebrates have been alive on Earth for at least 500 million years—possibly for a lot longer. bugs similar to these weevils were around before the dinosaurs.”
While the book does not feature sidebars, however at the bottom of each page, it does contain interesting tidbits. For example, it asks readers to interact with the book by offering a question or stating information that kids may be curious see and the author gives a page number saying where the reader can look to find the answers. Today’s children will find this particularly appealing since they brought up in information age in which information is available at their fingertips. They have access to computers and play video game. Therefore, they are so easily bored. For these reasons, the interactive features throughout this book deliver information better than dry encyclopedia article would. In addition, because children are used to getting immediate gratification through television and video games, books need to contain a hook in order to hold and keep their interest. Many of our children are scattered thinkers. They do not think linearly. When we were young, we gathered information in a linear fashion. We turned pages in a book to get our information. We were used to seeing things in order. However, post internet kids are used to clicking on links and 10 links later, they are on completely different subject. Therefore, I feel that the use of colorful pictures and gimmicky page turning questions may hold the interest of today’s youth who have a very limited attention span. Also, the information is interesting and valuable allowing the students to make connections, and some of the information may lure the students into finding more data on the bugs and keep them reading.
Reference aids includes chapters with headings and subheadings, a table of contents, index, and a glossary. The table of contents is unique in that it almost resembles an outline. It begins with the main topic. Under the topic it lists chapter titles and pages on which the chapters begin. However, rather than the page number being to the right of the chapter title, it’s found directly to the left with at most 5 spaces separating them, making it extremely reader friendly. I like this organization because little children can clearly find the page number without a large space separating page number and chapter title. The chapter titles themselves are mostly upfront and basic. They contain subjects, so that the reader can understand what he/she will be reading. However, some of the titles offer enticements not with descriptive or figurative language, but with interesting verbiage. Chapters such as Amazing eggs, Can you see me?, Creepers and leapers, Bug skeletons all seem to pull the reader into the book and entice them to want to find out more. In addition, chapter titles help the reader in locating content by conveying concise, pointed information. While a reader could use the book as one source for research information, the information would be limited since the topics and information contained is brief. However, the table of contents could be used to get ideas for writing a research paper. Once the reader gets to the chapters, which are very short, two pages each, the main topic is written at the top of the page using larger font, and bold letters. The page numbers are bold and sit inside of a colored circle, which seems to be a recurring design feature. The subheadings are written directly under the topic or heading and are bolded but written in much smaller print so as not to detract from the chapter title or heading.
Ms. Arlon begins bugs with a section that most children will skip, but it is very important, it’s called, “How to discover more.” It consists of a two-page spread that informs the reader about how to use the book, and tells the reader that an additional book is available for download. This portion of the book could definitely be tied into an Informational Resource lesson because this is a skill that needs reforming especially in a fourth grade class in which they are tested on Informational Resources on the LEAP Test.
The cover suggests that the book’s contents will be interesting, featuring lots of colorful bugs. It suggests that it will be fun and unusual or different. Perhaps they will see bugs from a different perspective from what they have ever seen before. As I mentioned earlier, I found the cover to be sensationalized featuring neon lime green background with a creature with huge blue bug eyes and humanoid characteristics. The title catches the reader’s attention with its bright red letters, all-lowercase. Also adding to its appeal is the circle motif that is featured throughout the book. By placing the bug within the circle, Ms. Arlon again makes the connection with the microscope. The back cover gives an inviting blurb with four circles, little bigger than an half-dollar, that gives the appearance of microscopic visuals of interesting bugs that are included inside the book. Also, the author includes a few photos of other books in the series so if children are interested in further readings from this series, they get a visual of each book’s cover which is very appealing.
The end pages are uninteresting compared to the cover of the book. They are a solid bright red, neither adding too, nor detracting from the content or appeal of the book.
Also at the end of the book is an Index. It is very ordinary, and certainly not detailed. It does not even contain bolded page numbers indicating pictures. However, considering the number of photos contained, I suppose this makes sense. The index is short. It consists of a two-page spread that features white font on black pages, with those contrasting colors the print just pops off page. It includes an interesting photo of a light bulb with insects that are attracted to the light with an interesting caption explaining the attraction. There is not any visual text included. However, I did find an inaccuracy in the index. The index indicated that I could find thorax on 2 pages, 22 and 77. While thorax is on page 77 (index), I could not find thorax on page 22.
The glossary, like each chapter, is a two-page spread. It contains 31 words ranging from basic bug words the reader would need to help the reader better understand bugs, and which are intended to aide in the comprehension of the text, and some specialized words such as entomologist that the reader may find more challenging. Although some words are difficult for a young reader to understand, the definitions are clear so that the reader can easily understand the meaning, for example entomologist is defined simply as “A scientist who studies insects.” I wish that the author had included a pronunciation guide, which is needed considering the target audience. Another aspect I liked about the glossary is that the definitions are usually one sentence long and simply stated, so the reader would not feel intimidated. The entry words are in bold and the definition is written directly under entry word, but type used in the definition is not typed using bold face. I find the bolded entry words to be a positive asset because they seem to fly off page so reader can clearly find word to be defined. However, a criticism is that information does not go beyond defining words. It includes a basic definition without a sentence to make meaning clearer and no pronunciation key is included to aide in the pronunciation of the word. The glossary is at the back of the book, which could interfere with the flow of the book because the child will have to move back and forth from the two-page spread to the glossary to determine a word meaning.
The book format includes hundreds of colorful photographs. There are photos that were taken with an electron microscope that are among the most beautiful in the book, and despite the title this is one beautiful book. The colors are bold and inviting. Before the reader even turns a page he/she encounters a very bright lime green background with bugs written in bold red letters trimmed in hazy black. The contrasting colors make the works pop right off the page. Featured prominently inside a circle motif is a huge image of an alien looking bug appearing as though someone is inspecting it under a microscope. The book itself measures 8 1/2 by 10 1/4 inches, which will fit nicely inside of a book bag. However, I would have liked it to be larger. In terms of library use, I think that it may have a limited shelf life because of the thin cardboard cover and back cover. While it would fit nicely into a child’s backpack and because of it being a paperback, it will not add a great deal of weight, these features are a plus. However, it would be more durable and long lasting if it were made of a harder cover. Children are hard on books and I feel that this book could be easily destroyed or torn by carelessness; therefore, for library purposes, I would like to have the option to purchase the book in hardback.
There were no drawings throughout the book, nor was there any paper engineering. Throughout the book, the layout consisted of only two page spreads. They were very colorful, eye appealing, and eye-catching. Although the book contains many facts, they do not overwhelm the reader. The facts are simple and unintimidating. The photos dominate the page. There is usually one main bug that is featured, which includes a big picture of that animal and also inserted on the page are smaller color photos of other bugs in the same family. Under the pictures is a small blurb about the animal. At the bottom of each two-page spread is a blue line that is drawn horizontally across both pages. Below the blue line is an interesting fact or an enticing question, such as, “Ants have wings only when they become adults. They fly to a new home, then tear their wings off.” Or there might be some enticing information and a page number where the reader can see a picture to go with the fact. One of my favorite sections it titled “Butterfly or moth?”. It is a two-page spread comparing the butterfly and the moth. Each page feature one of the insects. One page is dedicated to the butterfly and the other to the moth. Then, the author proceeds to compare the two. Prominently featured on each page is a photo of ½ of the insect’s body aiding the reader in the comparisons. I also felt that the book could have benefited by including more maps. There was only one map, page 44, in the book. It is an inset map of the continents featuring Australia. It shows the continent that the beetle saved. Places are mentioned in other parts of the book that I feel a map should have been included as an inset so that the young reader could see at a glance where that bug could be found.
While it did feature diagrams, they are subtle. They do not stand out because they are photographs, which are featured so prominently throughout the book that the young reader may tend to overlook a diagram. One diagram in particular features the parts of a bug’s body with labels.
Although the type size seemed adequate and in some cases outstanding, there was one instance in which black font had been used over a deep purple making it slightly more difficult to read. Otherwise, the colors of the pictures and font are outstanding.
Finally, it has a feature called Interview with an … entomologist. As usual, it is consistent with the rest of the book. It features of a two-page spread and great photographs. In this case, the interview is with Dr. George McGavin, an entomologist. The interview is very relatable. He begins by explaining how he became interested in bugs from childhood and ended by talking about new species that he had discovered that had been named for him.
An aside:
An additional feature available to the purchaser is a digital link to an e-book companion. I downloaded it for comparison and found that it had potential, but for me it fell short in some ways. The author is not mentioned so I can’t speak of his/her authority. However, the book is similar to Bugs in some ways. There were LOTS of HUGE colorful pictures and similar insets with facts included. However, the information presented was formatted differently. It looks similar to a trading card. There is a featured animal, usually one per card and includes facts about that particular animal. Additionally, the author includes a section featuring a particular bug. Following several pages are a few pages of glossary, one word is featured per page. The glossary is featured sporadically throughout the book, which could be an asset or a deficit depending on the reader. While I normally like the vocabulary defined within the text, I found that having pages of definitions interrupted the flow of the book. It includes a pronunciation key, which is not featured in the printed copy, which is a nice addition. It contains chapters that include headings and subheadings, just as the print version does. It had fewer pages than the print version and the pages contain less information. It contains 68 pages, and the print version includes 80 pages. Each book ends with a Thank You page to the photographers. Unlike the print version that includes an Interview with a scientist feature, the e-book goes directly to the book credits. In my opinion, this is a mistake unless the publishers felt that it would be repetitive and feature the same scientist in both versions; however even if the same occupation had been features, the publisher could have used a different scientist to give a fresh perspective. In addition, it includes science labs for outside interaction, which is another feather that is not offered in the print version. For me, it fell short because of some of the digital features. One of the most enticing aspects of the e-book is that it is meant to be interactive. There is video section, and quiz questions so that should the reader click on the icon representing that information, they should get immediate feedback, but those features were locked on my version. I could not access them, and the book downloads very slowly and in pieces. What a disappointment! Those are exactly the features needed to keep today’s video playing, fast paced children interested in reading more. Therefore, while I would recommend both the print and the digital copy for beautiful pictures, I found the digital book to be lacking.
In a final attempt to access the features, I downloaded the ebook on my computer. The access features work and were fantastic; however, after trying again to access these features on my iPad, I was still unsuccessful. The company may want to work on this issue.

3. As a teacher or librarian, would you use the book that you have evaluated, and see if so how? If you would not use the book in your discipline, how would you anticipate that someone in another subject discipline use this book?

I actually brought Bugs to school and asked three groups of students to review it and give me their opinions. The groups consisted of third grade and fourth grade Lacoste Elementary students and high school students who were visitors from Tennessee. Each group had the opportunity to view the book separate from the other groups. When I asked the student how they liked the book the reply from each of the groups was, “Cool.” The high school reply was, “Way cool.” The third grade group really liked the “all the different facts.” I commented that I thought they would have liked the pictures, they said that they did love the pictures, but I was surprised that they mentioned facts before the pictures. The first thing that the fourth graders mentioned was the bright colors. They too liked the pictures, but one of the girls said that she found some of the pictures to be scary. The high schoolers liked the pictures and facts, but did not elaborate beyond that.
I absolutely loved the book. I felt that it had shelf appeal. Any child walking past that book would stop to look at the colorful images that are simply calling out for attention. Based on the children’s reactions, I know that they find the information and pictures appealing, and if there are more than one book in the series available it might encourage them to read more. It may also entice some to want to discover more information about some of the bugs that had been mentioned. Reluctant readers will be attracted to the colors and may be drawn to open it up and decide to read it. Since the pictures are so prominently featured, even non-readers would enjoy looking at pictures and it might encourage them to want to learn to read to see what information says about pictures. Readers would not be intimidated by the book, bugs, since it is short, only 80 pages with most of the space featuring photos. Additionally, for a short book it contains a lot of information and a digital companion. I feel like this book offers something for everyone. I am a visual learner and this book popped right off the cart to capture my attention. I feel that it would do the same for students.
I would use this in an informational resource lesson. I would compare the table of contents to another informational book’s table of contents for a comparison. I would use it in a “types of animals” science lesson featuring invertebrates. It could be used in a compare and contrast lesson featuring vertebrates and invertebrates. Science teachers may wish to use the book in a similar manner or simply include the book in a lesson on invertebrates so that students can get a visual of many of those animals in one source. An English teacher may want to have students write poems or stories about bugs. Finally, teachers could go to Scholastic.com for lesson plans that could be used with bugs specifically. I would use the book with students ages 6 and beyond.

4. On Destiny (read.uno.edu). look up what other books UNO has in its collection on this topic. Given your evaluation of the book and noting what other books UNO has, what would you suggest adding this book to or keeping the book in the collection?

I would suggest adding this book to the UNO collection. Two other books come close to the shelf appeal and those books are Eye¬-popping 3-D Bugs and Bizarre Bugs. Both look colorful, fun and nonpretentious. Also, based on the feedback from students, I think that others would enjoy the book just as much. Children love books that feature colorful pictures, and creepy, and gross information. Bugs has it all.

A bug's life : a behind-the-scenes look at how a computer-animated film is made
1 of 1 available

791.5 Kur Kurtti, Jeff.

Published 1998
Reading Level: 6.7 Interest Level: 3-6

Bugs are insects
1 of 1 available

595.7 Roc Rockwell, Anne F.

Published 2001
Reading Level: 2.3 Interest Level: K-3

Bugs before time : prehistoric insects and their relatives
1 of 1 available

565 Cam Camper, Cathy.

Published 2002
Reading Level: 6.7 Interest Level: K-3

Eye-popping 3-D bugs : phantogram creepy-crawlies you can practically touch!
1 of 1 available

595.7 ROT Rothstein, Barry.

Published 2011

Oddhopper opera : a bug's garden of verses
1 of 1 available

811 Cyr Cyrus, Kurt.

Published 2001
Reading Level: 3.9 Interest Level: 3-6

Bizarre bugs
1 of 1 available

595.7 Wec Wechsler, Doug.

Published 1995
Interest Level: 3-6

Paleo bugs : survival of the creepiest
1 of 1 available

565 Bra Bradley, Timothy J.

Published 2008
Reading Level: 6.3 Interest Level: 3-6

Hey there, stink bug!
1 of 1 available

595.7 Bul Bulion, Leslie, 1958-

Published 2006
Reading Level: 5.5 Interest Level: K-3

Field trips : bug hunting, animal tracking, bird-watching, shore walking with Jim Arnosky.
1 of 1 available

508 Arn Arnosky, Jim.

Published 2002
Reading Level: 4.9 Interest Level: 3-6

Rolypolyology
1 of 1 available

595.3 Ros Ross, Michael Elsohn, 1952-

Published 1996
Reading Level: 5.5 Interest Level: 3-6

Hungry hoppers : grasshoppers in your backyard
1 of 1 available

595.7 Loe Loewen, Nancy, 1964-

Published 2004
Reading Level: 3.7 Interest Level: K-3

Tiny workers : ants in your backyard
1 of 1 available

595.79 Loe Loewen, Nancy, 1964-

Published 2004
Reading Level: 3.1 Interest Level: K-3

Insect-lo-pedia : young naturalist's handbook
1 of 1 available

595.7 Rei Reinhart, Matthew.

Published 2003
Reading Level: 5.5 Interest Level: 3-6

The bug scientists
0 of 1 available

595.7 Jac Kallner, Donna Jackson, 1958-

Published 2002

What's that bug?
1 of 1 available

595.7 Par Froman, Nan.

Published 2001
Reading Level: 4.7 Interest Level: 3-6

Bug safari
0 of 1 available

595.7 Bar Barner, Bob.

Published 2004
Reading Level: 3.6 Interest Level: K-3

5. AFTER you have evaluated the book, look up professional reviews of the book, e.g. on Titlewave.com, Mackin.com, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, look for reviews by School Library Journal, Hornbook, Booklist, VOYA, Kirkus. How does your assessment of the book (albeit far more thorough than the short review) compare to the professional reviewer’s review?

The following review came from Amazon.com.
“5.0 out of 5 stars Young bug lovers will love this November 30, 2012
By S. Schneider
Amazon Verified Purchase
This is for my grandson and he will be delighted with the many detailed pictures of bugs throughout this book, plus the explanatory text. He is only 6 but very inquisitive and proactive in learning.”

After searching each of suggested sights for reviews, Amazon was the only place I was able to find a review. I felt that our reviews matched in that the pictures, the text and the book’s appeal to the younger reader impressed us both. I like her use of the word proactive. I wish that I had thought of this since it is a great way to describe the type of learner that would be attracted to this book. I also rated the book with 5 stars. Other than that, my view was far more detailed. ( )
  lalfonso | Mar 17, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0545365740, Paperback)

Favorite topics in active and interactive print and digital books, specially designed for newly confident readers.

Look closer at the world at your feet and you will find there is more to bugs than meets the eye. BUGS features stunning close-up images combined with weird and wonderful bug facts. The book takes a 360 degree view of the natural history, history, and human impact of mini-beasts. It covers more than just insects, featuring other land invertebrates such as spiders, centipedes, worms, and snails. It delves into prehistory to show the ancient, giant ancestors of today’s creatures. Young naturalists will be inspired by meeting an insect explorer and expert and reading about how a beetle saved Australia. You can even find out how to make a bug snack!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:49 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

An exploration of insects, featuring close-up images, facts, dictionary and encyclopedia entries, and more.

» see all 4 descriptions

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