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. 

Ice Cream Summer

Ice Cream Summer9780545731614_p0_v2_s192x300Ice Cream Summer

Peter Sis, Author and illustrator

Scholastic Press, Fiction, May 26, 2015

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Ice Cream, Summer, Writing, Counting, Exploring, History

Synopsis: “Dear Grandpa, Thank you for your letter. So far, it’s been a delicious summer. I am very busy. But don’t worry, I am not forgetting about school.”

Synopsis: Joe is eager to join his grandfather on a special trip at the end of the summer, so he shares his “delicious” summer in his letter. He reassures his grandfather that he is staying current with his studies during his vacation. He is reading, writing, practicing his math, charting maps and learning history. What he doesn’t tell his grandfather is that he studying his favorite tasty treat, ice cream.

Why I like this book:

The wonderful Peter Sis dishes up a yummy story about everything you want to know about ice cream. His whimsical story is a refreshing celebration of children’s favorite frozen treat. Told with minimal text, children will follow Joe on his journey of reading the lists of flavors at a local Ice Cream store, writing and illustrating a book with ice cream artwork, practicing math problems with the addition and subtraction of ice cream scoops, and studying the ancient history and invention of ice cream.

Sis’s lively pastel illustrations are in delightful shapes: waves appear as colorful scoops of ice cream, sand castles resemble ice cream cones, hammocks strung between two cones, and the Statue of Liberty holds a torch filled with ice cream. Children will have a ball studying each exquisitely detailed picture and spying delicious treats. Ice Cream Summer will appeal to a variety of ages. This is a perfect hot-summer read and is best read with a bowl of ice cream.

Resources: What I like about this book is how easily it can be used in the classroom. Ask children to write a story about their favorite flavor and draw a picture. Talk about how the first ice cream was made 2,000 years ago in China with snow, milk, rice and fruit. Chart a map that shows how ice cream began to travel to different cultures worldwide. There’s some great history there. Visit Peter Sis at his website.

Peter Sis is an internationally acclaimed author, illustrator and filmmaker. Ice Cream Summer is a light-hearted and fun book for the author of The Wall, Tibet Through the Red Box, The Tree of Life, Three Golden Keys and Madlenka.

Even though Perfect Picture Books is on vacation until September 11, you can still visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books to see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources.