top of page
  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Respect the Insect by Jules Howard

When it came to zoologist Jules’s Howard's attention that some children don’t like insects, some like to swat them, and even shriek in fear when they see them, he got together with his insect friends and together they wrote a large picture book called Respect the Insect because they think that insects are amazing!

We help keep your soils healthy. We bury your dead. We keep your rivers clean. We hoover up your scraps and we clean up a LOT of the poo that’s lying around the place. In fact, we are the six-legged creatures that run this world!

Gosia Herba, the illustrator, has created a cheerful bright yellow cover featuring more than twenty cute, comical illustrations of insects. Inside the book, there are hundreds more. But as there are over a million different kinds of insects in our world, she couldn’t possibly show them all.

Five chapters have been packed full of information about the great things insects do and how.

Chapter 1: Cleaner uppers

Chapter 2: Menu Makers

Chapter 3: Ecosystem Enigmas

Chapter 4: Teeny Tiny Teachers

Chapter 5: Inspiring Icons

Included, too, are some remarkable and curious facts. For example, Maggots breathe through their bottoms, and one type of dragonfly was once spotted flying six kilometres above sea level—that’s almost as high as Mt Everest! Chocolate lovers may well be amazed to hear that every single piece of chocolate they eat is thanks to a tiny midge.

But here’s some bad news! Today, insects are in trouble. Scientists agree that half of all insect species are slowly starting to disappear.

Insects were around four hundred million years ago living on planet Earth before there were cave people or dinosaurs, and survived floods, droughts, storms, earthquakes, blizzards, and ice ages. They even survived the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs. But once humans arrived, they encroached on their habitat and the insecticides they use on their crops kills many of them.

The result has been disastrous. For instance the sky has lost more than half of its buzzing insects in Europe in just two decades.

Insects need our help to survive. And children can help by spreading the word about the good things insects do and how important they are to our world. So, some practical and fun activities are included on how they can take the initiative and be a friend to insects.

The way the author has shown the insect world through the eyes of an incredible cast of insects has allowed him to get this message across in an amusing and informative way that children will enjoy and can relate to. They may not finish up loving them all, but it will surely help them to appreciate that we should all respect and look after insects for the benefit of the planet.

Jules Howard is a well-known natural history expert who has previously authored the Encyclopedia of Insects and writes regularly for the Guardian, Science Focus magazine and BBC Wildlife magazine. So, primary schools will undoubtedly want to acquire a copy of this book for their school libraries.

Adults too are bound to find there are many facts they didn’t know about insects and how without their hard work our eco system (the relationship between animals and plants and fungi) would completely break down. So, this would also be a terrific book for the family bookshelf.

Review: Lyn Potter

Wide Eyed Editions (an imprint of the Quarto Group)


bottom of page