13 Ways to Eat a Fly by Sue Heavenrich

13 Ways to Eat a Fly

Sue Heavenrich, Author

David Clark, Illustrator

Charlesbridge, Nonfiction, Feb. 26, 2021

Suitable for ages: 4-8

Themes: Flies, Predators, Subtraction, Counting, STEM

Opening: “Big flies, small flies, fat flies, thinner. / Yum! These flies are someone’s dinner.” 

Book Jacket Synopsis:

A swarm of 13 flies buzzes by, losing one member to each predator along the way, whether the unfortunate insects are zapped, wrapped, liquefied, or zombified, the science is real — and hilariously gross.

Science meets subtraction in this clever reverse counting book about predators and prey.

Why I like this book:

Sue Heavenrich’s novel perspective on flies will delight children of all ages — and some adults too. Flies may be annoying, but you may want to think twice before you reach for a fly swatter because there are a host of insects, animals and plants who depend upon them for food — frogs, spiders, fish, birds, bats, and the Venus flytrap. Flies are full of protein and an important part of the food chain. And oops, even people eat these harmless flies by mistake.

I have a  4-year-old great nephew in Florida who loves everything bugs. So this was a MUST June birthday book for him! He has committed the facts to memory and has a great time telling the story in his own words — especially to his older sister. My niece especially loves the counting aspect of the book. So far he hasn’t asked her to bake a cake with fly protein powder — yes, it exists.

The layout of the book is delightful, with fun rhymes and a few lines of informational text. The book counts backwards starting with 13 flies. David Clark’s humorous and embellished illustrations show flies being gobbled up by predators. They are also very colorful and lively. Did you know that frogs use their eyeballs to push flies down their throat and garden spiders catch them in their webs and inject venom to kill it! When thousands of tiny flies hatch over a stream, a trout can devour five hundred in one day. That’s impressive.

Resources: There are so many ways to use this book with young children — at home and school.  Encourage kids to draw a picture of a fly being eaten for dinner. Ask kids if they’ve knowingly swallowed a fly by accident while playing outdoors. Make sure you check out the backmatter, as Heavenrich includes a humorous section on the edible parts of a fly, a Non-Human guide to fine dining, and other books, website and resources. Visit her at her website.

Sue Heavenrich is a curious naturalist and is particularly amazed by the diversity of insects that visit her garden. After years as a journalist she is trading in her reporter’s notebooks and writing for children. Her 2018 book, Diet for a Changing Climate: Food for Thought (co-authored with Christy Mihaly) shows how we can help reduce greenhouse gases – and maybe help solve global hunger – by putting bugs, weeds, and invasive species on our plates. Recipes included. When not writing, Sue volunteers as a citizen scientist, counting bees and other pollinators. Follow her blog Archimedes Notebook where she shares a lot of science, nature  and STEM books for children.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Reviewed from a library copy I asked my library to order. 

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

19 thoughts on “13 Ways to Eat a Fly by Sue Heavenrich

    • Maybe that’s why we have become so involved with children’s literature. I know I’ve learned so much in the past 10 years! They certainly didn’t have the scope of fantastic books back when we were kids!

      Like

  1. I have some young nieces and nephews who would love this book. Thanks for the gift idea! Sue has taken something as simple as a fly and written a memorable story for curious kids. Great choice and an excellent review.

    Like

  2. I love the title. It makes the book a must read. I’m sure I’ve read about it somewhere before, but your review makes it all the more appealing.

    Like

  3. So – hanging out in the garden and watching flies on Friday – and I totally missed seeing your wonderful review! Thank you for all the book love.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s