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Book Spotlight: Minibeasts with Jess French

With her unparalleled zeal for insects, Jess French dives headfirst into the breathtaking world of invertebrates to explore their unbelievable adaptations and evolution and reveal incredible invertebrates from all over the world, from bird-eating tarantulas and glow-in-the-dark scorpions to meter-long stick insects and bat-eating centipedes.

Learn about the perfect co-evolution of nectar-drinking insects and the flowers they pollinate and discover how minibeasts mate, fight, hide, collaborate, evolve, and survive in the most extreme conditions.

MY THOUGHTS: Let’s be honest. When it comes to bugs, you either love them or you hate them. A lot of that is conditioning from when we’re young. If a bee stings a five-year old, chances are that child we become an adult who detests bees. However, there are so many fascinating things about insects that it’s a shame to go through life hating them for being themselves. That’s why I love this book from Jess French.

She definitely has a way of seeing beauty in each bug, no matter how creepy it is. She’s proof of the childhood love-them-or-hate-them theory. Raised with an invertebrate-breeding father, she became accustomed to the ins and outs of creepy-crawlies. Her passion for them is evident all throughout the book.

Each full-color, intriguing picture shows details in the insects that one would never see normally. Her descriptions, explanation, and even choices with which bugs to showcase are fantastic. This is the type of book that gets kids excited about science. It is a must-have in your home school library. If you have a young reader who is currently petrified of anything that flies, crawls, or buzzes, you need to get a copy of this. It promotes a healthy attitude toward entomology and allows these often misunderstood creatures a chance to ‘wow’ kids.

‘Minibeasts’ is a great read for any age (even adults). I highly recommend it.

Bloomsbury Wildlife | Publication date: May 8th, 2018
$18 | Paperback original | 128 pages | ISBN: 9781472939555
**Pic and Synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher.
*I received the aforementioned title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Neeka and the Squirrel Highway: Charlie Wes Harris

SYNOPSIS: Educator and author Charlie Wes Harris has recently released “Neeka and the Squirrel Highway,” a children’s story based on a real-life event his daughter experienced.

The book describes what happens when Neeka comes home from school and finds a furry surprise on her parents’ bed. What she thinks is a pair of brown socks turns out to be a sleeping squirrel.

When the squirrel sees Neeka, he is terribly frightened and tries to find a way to escape. Neeka is also afraid, but with her family’s help, she faces her fears and sets the squirrel free—after he’s had a good time exploring their house.

“The book is designed as an easy reader for elementary school kids but may also be used for the preliterate,” Harris said. “I knew this would make a fascinating story for children, as it actually happened to my daughters Neeka and Angela during their childhood.”

The book has received critical acclaim, with Foreword and Clarion Reviews describing the book as “an enjoyable and inventive story, offering an amusing reaction to a startling event, that will certainly appeal to young audiences.”

“Neeka and the Squirrel Highway” will not only entertain children, but also teach them how to face their fears and overcome them.

MY THOUGHTS: I can’t stress enough how much I loved this book!
The illustrations are simply gorgeous. Each page is beautifully drawn with incredible detail and realism. Every reader can truly feel a connection to the story through these amazing depictions.

As for the story itself, Mr. Harris has done an incredible job of writing from the viewpoints of both the child and her parents. Both see the world differently and Mr. Harris nailed those differences. Here, we see a family, filled with love, who are guiding their children through the obstacles of the rights and wrongs in life. Instead of simply discarding one squirrel, they take the time to show their children the value of that one life. It’s a beautiful message.

Through the squirrel’s adventure into their home, Neeka learns that she can make a difference, as an individual, by showing compassion and thinking of others’ feelings. Her parents teach her that she shouldn’t let her fears keep her from doing the right thing. It’s a powerful life lesson and such an important one for today’s children.

Hopefully, Mr. Harris will pen many more books whether they be about Neeka or other, thoughtful children. We need more of these books in the hands of young readers. Fabulous! I give it 5 stars and a round of applause.

About the author
Charlie Wes Harris was born and grew up in Auburn, Alabama. His career has been divided between academic and US Government service in Washington, DC. He was Senior Specialist (GS-18, prior SES) and Division Chief at the Congressional Research Service. He is former professor and associate dean at Howard University along with part-time professor at Georgetown University. Harris has authored five scholarly books and monographs and a lead article in the Catholic University Law Review. This is his first book of fiction and his first book for children. He is the father of two adult daughters and has five grandchildren.

**Pic & synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher
*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.