Wicked Bugs: The Meanest, Deadliest, Grossest Bugs on Earth by Amy Stewart (review)
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Reviewed by
Stewart, Amy Wicked Bugs: The Meanest, Deadliest, Grossest Bugs on Earth; illus. by Briony Morrow-Cribbs. Algonquin, 2017 [192p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-61620-755-7 $19.95
Paper ed. ISBN 978-1-61620-699-4 $12.95
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 4-7

Where do connoisseurs of entomological villainy go when they age out of “Ew!”-invoking picture books but aren’t quite ready for Stewart’s adult offering Wicked Bugs? Right here, to her young readers edition, where the organization is tidy and intuitive, the scope is impressive, the entry length is ideal, and the content is itchingly disturbing. Six sections (Deadly Creatures, Everyday Dangers, Unwelcome Invaders, Destructive Pests, Serious Pains, and Terrible Threats) organize a host of subchapters, allowing browsers to fast forward according to their own tolerance—from the merely annoying, such as head lice, to the truly diabolical, such as the Guinea worm. Most entries include an anecdote concerning a victim, discussion of treatment, social context in which bites or infestations occur, and/or remarks on the physiology and modus operandi that make the bugs a threat. Stewart admits to [End Page 37] using the term “bug” loosely in this collection, going with the vernacular meaning of anything creepy crawly. She’s unlikely to be censured for this by rapt readers, who will be too entertained to argue. Detailed drawings (planned to be full color in the bound book), a glossary, lists of resources, and an index are included.

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