Insects are everywhere. They occur in many different types, sizes and colours, which makes them a real curiosity for children. When you are teaching children about insects, tie in literature by reading these memorable books about a spider, a caterpillar and a mosquito. These classic stories teach lessons about loyalty, growing up, friendship and mistaken judgments.
"Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti"
Anansi is a clever spider who shows up in many folktales from Ghana. "Anansi the Spider" by Gerald McDermott won a Caldecott Honor Medal in 1973. This medal is given to honour the illustrators of children's books. "Anansi the Spider" is about a father spider who goes for a walk in the woods and gets into trouble. He asks his eight sons for help, which they gladly give him. The sons all have distinct and different talents to offer their father. Anansi in his gratitude wishes to bestow a gift on his sons, but he does not know which son to give his one gift to. The sons end up sharing the gift between themselves and the entire world. Anansi and his sons teach us that when we are loyal to each other, everything works out for the best.
"The Very Hungry Caterpillar"
"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle is a story for toddlers and even older children that depicts a caterpillar eating his way through the die-cut book. Children learn the life cycle of the caterpillar by watching it turn into a beautiful butterfly. Carl intertwines this science lesson with the caterpillar munching his way through the days of the week. This heartwarming story of the caterpillar's changing into a butterfly is memorable not only for its story of growing up, but also for Carle's colourful illustrations.
"One day when I was on my way to feed the pig, I began feeling sorry for the pig because, like most pigs, he was doomed to die. This made me sad. So I started thinking of ways to save a pig's life. I had been watching a big grey spider at her work and was impressed by how clever she was at weaving," wrote E. B. White. Charlotte is a spider who ends up being a hero to Wilbur, a pig who is the runt of the litre. This story proves that friends come in all shapes and sizes.
"Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears"
Verna Aardema retells this West African folk tale about an iguana that gets tired of a mosquito's bragging. He puts sticks in his ears and decides to go away. But his retreat from the mosquito starts a chain reaction among the animals in the jungle. When the sun refuses to rise because of the animals' unrest, the lion calls a meeting. After the problem is traced to the mosquito, the disorder among the animals is resolved. The sun begins to shine again, and life returns to normal. This story helps us realise that mistaken ideas and judgments can lead to many otherwise avoidable hardships.
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- American Library Association; Caldecott Medal & Honor Books, 1938 - Present
- Scholastic; Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti
- eric-carl-com; Published Reviews: "The Very Hungry Caterpillar"
- HarperCollins Publishers; Kids - Authors & Illustrators
- Scholastic; Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale