|Strange nature : the insect portraits of Levon Biss|
Author: Mone, Gregory
Adapted from the adult title Microsculpture, this book for young readers is a unique photographic study of insects in mind-blowing magnification that celebrates the wonders of nature and science.
School Library Journal (+) (03/01/21)
Booklist (+) (03/15/21)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2021 Gr 2–4—The cover of this insect-centered title will attract readers right away. The introduction describes how a boy's interest in the bugs in his backyard piqued the curiosity of his father, a professional photographer. The father, Levon Biss, usually photographs famous people, but this project took him to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Biss met naturalists who allowed him to "borrow" specimens of a variety of insects and photograph them using new and interesting cameras, lights, and other equipment so that each insect was photographed many times and in microscopic detail. The bugs were not alive because live insects would not have stayed still for their pictures to be taken. The photos were then enlarged to 10 feet and displayed in museums. Each spread shows a photo of the insect on the verso page with inserts, arrows, and explanatory text. The recto shares the insect's name, location in the world, and size in millimeters. A short paragraph describes the insect, with a few facts in a box below. The detailed facts are sometimes tongue-in-cheek when describing bodily functions. The text also shares when scientists have not discovered details that might add to our understanding of some of these insects. The book ends with a glossary and a website for learning more about microsculpture. VERDICT This fascinating title should not be missed. Readers who love insects, those who are fascinated with new forms of photography and its connections to the study of science, and teachers looking for new ways to interest students in science will love reading and using this book.—Susan Lissim, Dwight Sch., New York City - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/15/2021 *Starred Review* When it comes to bugs, this book has it all: astonishing color photos of insects; amazing, accessible insect facts; and gross-out humor that’s actually funny. British photographer Biss’ work capturing images of insects began when he and his son looked at a garden visitor under a microscope. Up close, they saw a regular beetle resembling a monster. The photographer’s Microsculpture project was the result, a collection of composite microscope photos of 37 dead (but beautiful) insects from the Oxford University of Natural History. Featured here are 15, with each photo accompanied by details sure to draw children in—tiger beetles run so fast that they go temporarily blind, for example, and a young mantis fly attaches itself to an adult spider and drinks its blood. Mone also includes facts about the insect world overall—how many types there are, how they help agriculture—and describes what entomologists do. Also valuable is the author’s explanation that entomologists don’t always know the function of insect features, teaching readers that science is always unfinished, an exciting realization for budding young scientists. Unfamiliar words are clearly explained in the text as well as in the closing glossary. Report writers and browsers will gravitate toward this wonderful, visually thrilling find. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.