cover image Insects Are My Life

Insects Are My Life

Megan McDonald, Paul B. Johnson. Scholastic, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-531-06874-8

Pigtailed and bespectacled-and with a freckled, round face and turned-up nose-Amanda Frankenstein looks like a junior pedant. And perhaps she is. Crazy about insects, the strong-willed girl dumps her brother's fireflies out of the jar and informs him, ""Bugs are people, too, you know."" Amanda amasses a huge collection of bugs (""Dead ones, of course""), is proud of the number of mosquito bites on her leg (22) and utters the dramatic claim stated in the book's title. Incessantly talking about (and even acting like) various insects, she antagonizes her brother and classmates. The plot wears thin, although some of Amanda's antics are engaging and many of McDonald's (Is This a House for Hermit Crab?) lines are quite funny (when the aspiring entomologist puts her feet on the kitchen table because, she announces, butterflies have taste buds in their feet, her mother orders her to ""please keep your taste buds on the floor""). Johnson's (The Cow Who Wouldn't Come Down) animated watercolor, colored-pencil and pastel illustrations depend on exaggeration for their humor; even so, they are truer to life than the text in their depiction of ordinary feelings. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)