Nonfiction – Bug Butts

There is a trend, not new surely, but recently built to unavoidable proportions, of attempting to attract readers – particularly boys – to nonfiction titles but exploiting the strangest, most disgusting, and scatalogical topics possible. Of course, this strategy has been demonstrably successful, so who are we to argue? Besides, I often find myself intrigued by the weird information these authors manage to dig up. Did you know, for example, that larval tortoise beetles have little forks on the ends of their butts where feces collects, creating a shield from birds and other predators? The author of the book Bug Butts shares this, and many other fascinating facts, with readers.

The term “butt” is used repeatedly throughout the book, and while “anus” or “abdomen” or “alimentary canal” could probably have substituted in several cases, the butt theme manages to serve the duel purpose of attracting giggling readers and unifying several activities involving different parts of the insect hind end.

While the information is wrapped in a purposefully sensational package, the facts remain the same, and children will walk away knowing quite a bit about insects. Sometimes the gross factor outweighs the information factor, but never overwhelmingly. Despite outward appearances, it actually is an educational title.

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