Bug Off is a delightful collection of poems featuring the predictable assemblage of common insects, including flies, mantids, butterflies, ants, bees, ladybugs, lovebugs, and grasshoppers. Also included are insect relatives, namely ticks, spiders and harvestmen. The author does an exceptionally good job at capturing the essence of her subjects, as exemplified by the second paragraph of “An Army of Ants”:
An army of ants, in their working-class pants,
They don't stop for movies, they don't stop to dance,
An all-female work force, their food stores enhance,
Toiling too hard to consider romance.
Not every reader will appreciate the significance of the ant's caste system, but surely they will understand the reference to the single-minded foraging behavior of ants. If not, comprehension and appreciation of the behavioral and ecological characteristics are enhanced by inclusion of an informative paragraph about each featured creature, including the order name, food habits, and other pertinent details. So we learn quite a bit of entomology along the way, including that lovebugs are flies, not bugs, and ladybugs are more correctly called ladybird beetles. Also, very nice photographs complement each treatment. The cover, for example, features a beautiful image of an orbweaver; it is also really creepy, very fitting for this book. The poetry, photography, and natural history are nicely balanced, making this little book humorous, visually pleasing, and intellectually stimulating.
Bug Off is advertised as being suitable for readers 5 and older. Although children would likely enjoy hearing the poems, I suspect that older readers will more readily appreciate this collection. Many adults might enjoy showing off their new-found knowledge to young listeners. I certainly would have fun with this book and a young audience!
This hard covered book is durably bound and features glossy paper with high-quality photographs. The dimensions are 9 × 10 in. (22.9 × 25.4 cm), and the cover photo appears on both the dust jacket and cover, so its attractiveness is not diminished if the dust jacket is lost.