The Alphabet of Bugs: An ABC Book is one of the more eccentric alphabet books available. Not only does it introduce the ABC’s via a number of colorful insects, it will extend the color vocabulary of almost any reader.
Ann Cutting has photographed the insects for this book, each one posed starkly against a colored background. Readers young and old will be introduced not just to beetles and butterflies, but to the Chrysina and Ironclad Beatles and to the Owl and Question Mark Butterflies. If you want your child to be aware not only of bugs but of their astonishing variety, this is one place to start.
Colors are similarly elaborate. Forget “blue” and “red.” Valerie Gates’ insect introductions offer Capri, Denim, Rackley, and Quinacridone Magenta. Word-lovers and artists will be right at home here, although even the ardent lover of words may need to look up a few of these, if only for pronounciation purposes. The insects are pictured against the appropriate shade in each case, so no one will be left guessing what the colors look like. Gates’ alliteration is largely fun, although there are a couple of places where she is clearly reaching for the verb: “Giant leaf insect graces Glaucous glow” works linguistically and is amusing; but “Ironclad Beetle integrates Iris iridescence” is something of a puzzler.
Both colors and images will leave adults and young children much to discus as they turn the pages, and the child who is read this book will gain a fine sampling of the various sounds different letters can make.
The Alphabet of Bugs is recommended for people who enjoy insects of all kinds and who like words.