Mad About Minibeasts by Giles Anreae and David Wojitowycz
Mad About Minibeasts is a beautifully illustrated introduction to the wonderful world of things that creep, wriggle, fly and skitter, with a fun rhyming text that rolls off the tongue.
It starts with a great verse welcoming the reader to explore, and be excited by, the world of creepy-crawlies. By introducing these as “Minibeasts” any negativity that may already be associated with “bugs”, “insects” or “creepy-crawlies” is removed (and anyone who wants to point out that spiders are not technically insects can breathe a happy sigh of relief). I also have to say YAY for ladybirds rather than ladybugs.
If you step a little closer
Maybe you can see
A ladybird, a dragonfly
A beetle or a bee.
The illustrations are bold and bright, with lots of things to be found on closer inspection. From striped snails to hiding ants, there’s plenty that allow for in-depth discussions about things that are going on. And we’re only at the first page!
The majority of Mad About Minibeasts is formatted like an encyclopaedia, with each page dedicated to a separate Minibeast.
- Stick Insect
Despite the encyclopaedia style, this book is about fun, not education. Flies merely buzz and dragonflies are queens of the pond, but it has a lovely way of inspiring interest in these minibeasts.
I particularly love this as a bedtime book. It starts off quite lively, but the rhythm is quite relaxing for a nice quiet time read, and at the end all the minibeasts are sleeping.
For the most part the rhyming nature of the stories are fun to read aloud, but there is the odd phrasing that doesn’t roll off the tongue as nicely as could be, yet this is a great book for readers that are starting to read independently, not just for reading aloud.