13 Ways to Eat a Fly
Sue Heavenrich, author
Sue Heavenrich has eaten flies—small ones, and mostly by accident. She has also done research on ants, bees, and spiders and taught cockroaches how to run mazes. After earning her MS in biology and teaching high-school science, Sue began writing about science and nature in magazines, newspapers, and blogs. She is the author of several books, including Diet for a Changing Planet: Food for Thought, a book for teens about how to save the world by eating bugs, weeds, and invasive species.
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David Clark, illustrator
David Clark is the illustrator of many books for children, including Never Insult a Killer Zucchini, What's for Dinner? Quirky, Squirmy Poems from the Animal World and the Just Like Us! series. He is also the illustrator and co-creator of the syndicated comic strip Barney & Clyde.
Read more about David.
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Guess who’s coming to dinner? Well stocked with easy-to-digest facts, from nature notes (“The frog closes its eyes and swallows, using its eyeballs to push the fly down its throat”) to the taxonomic names of the 13 different kinds of flies that Clark renders with distinguishing details (and deservedly anxious expressions) in his cartoon illustrations, this disquisition on flies as food will draw swarms of young readers. Following a countdown entrée in which the said baker’s dozen are, one by one, gobbled up by predators ranging from birds, bats, and a fly-eating fungus to an unwary skateboarder (gross but, claims Heavenrich, “harmless”), subsequent courses dish up observations on the insect’s importance as a food source, its real potential as a food additive, its nutritional content (with a table modeled after the one printed on cereal boxes), and a labeled chart of fly body parts, from the “soft and chewy” abdomen to antennae (“high in fiber”). Budding STEM-winders especially will relish meaty closing lists of print and web resources. Amplify the buzz by pairing this biological bounty with Brigit Heos’ introduction to another segment of the life cycle, What to Expect When You’re Expecting Larvae, illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch.
School Library JournalThirteen short, rhyming answers are given to this question: How do birds, fish, mammals, and insects capture and eat flies? Some of these feeding methods are described as “zapped,” “wrapped,” and “underground.” Each of these tactics is explained in a descriptive paragraph of two or three sentences that centers on a specific animal and how it eats flies. For example, a garden spider captures a fly in its web, injects its prey with poison, and then wraps it in silk so that it resembles a burrito. Each paragraph is accompanied by a large illustration or two. These colorful illustrations are clear, but often humorously exaggerated. The text concludes that flies are a major food source for many animals. Educators could use this book for multiple lessons. The rhyming “ways” to eat a fly could be adopted for choral reading, with some of the factual information also included. Children could discuss how different animals capture and eat flies as food. VERDICT A lighthearted nonfiction picture book that could easily be used with young children in different ways.
ISBN: 978-1- EPUB
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Page count: 32
11 x 8.5