From School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—The shock value alone makes this worth the cover price, but once kids are pulled in, they will learn more than they bargained for about the impact of insects on human history. Insects have determined the outcomes of wars and the paths of human migrations; they have brought plagues, provided strong fabrics, and sweetened our tea. Chapters are divided topically, beginning with the basics of insect life cycles, moving on to human hygiene and beneficial insects, and then covering "bad news bugs," before tackling history from the "earliest epidemics" to current concerns in the relationship between humans and insects. This is history for those with a strong constitution, who aren't bothered by phrases such as "cockroach brain tissue," "crawling with maggots," and "bursting buboes" or by the idea of receiving 9,000 insect bites in a minute. With a green-and-purple design, reminiscent of a beetle, and black-and-white photos and cartoon illustrations, this is an attractive package full of hand-washing inducing facts. Overall, this title is astonishing, disgusting, revolting, and ultimately fascinating, making it perfect for emerging entomologists, budding historians, reluctant readers, and gross-out junkies alike.—Heather Acerro, Rochester Public Library, MN
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the author and illustrator of Poop Happened! (2010) comes a compendium of facts about insects and their role in shaping civilization. Malaria, yellow fever, typhus, and the plague have all played pivotal roles in history—halting colonization and travel, felling armies, and even bringing entire empires to their bubo-covered knees—and all of them are transmitted by bugs. Albee opens with the many ways insects are helpful to humans (as a source of food, in medical research), but those niceties belie the grossness that follows. Starting with evidence of insect-borne diseases in the Bible and ending with contemporary research and efforts to curb major epidemics, Albee follows a mostly chronological order, regularly interrupted by sidebars with fascinating facts about individual insects, scientists and policy makers, medical practices and discoveries, and infectious diseases. Thankfully, Leighton’s mostly cartoon illustrations mean the visuals aren’t scarily gross. Though there are a few missteps—a warning about eating bugs found in the yard should really come before the recipe for chocolate-covered crickets—this engrossing volume is jam-packed with enticingly gruesome world history. Grades 5-8. --Sarah Hunter