Nonfiction – Face to Face with Caterpillars

Caterpillars are often neglected, left in the shadow by their more ostentatious adult forms of butterflies and moths. Photographer Darlyne Murawski finds beauty in the lowly caterpillar, however, and she is determined to share it with the rest of us. A photographer with National Geographic, the author describes general characteristics of caterpillars, giving specific examples to illustrate points relating to topics such as self-defense, food, or camouflage. Every comment is illustrated with gorgeous close-up photos of caterpillars taken in their natural habitats.

The format of the book works well. Every photo has a caption giving extra information, with most of the text and ideas in the main body of the book. There were occasionally times when I wished there was more information on a specific type of caterpillar, but as this was a general purpose book, that is perhaps inevitable. The text is clear and concise, written at the perfect level. An author’s note at the end acknowledges that most insects have scientific names, and lists them in the back, but otherwise common names are used, an appropriate choice for a children’s book. The use of the first person is also a nice touch, reinforcing that the author has personal experience with caterpillars, and, perhaps, allowing children to imagine what it would be like to choose photography, or perhaps entomology, as a career.

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