Review Blog

Jul 02 2018

My encounters with minibeasts by Densey Clyne

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New Holland Publishers, 2018. ISBN 9781925546170
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Themes: Insects, Spiders, Frogs, Non fiction. A wonderful beautifully illustrated book about the creepy crawlies that abound in our houses and gardens and further afield is presented by well known insect aficionado, Densey Clyne. Known for her work, writing books, writing scripts for documentaries as well as broadcasting, Densey has produced over thirty publications dealing with the insect world and beyond. This book offers thirty five stories of her life with these animals. Wonderful to dip into, to read from cover to cover or use the four pages of index to research your favourite insect, the book is a treasure trove of information and story, each complementing the other for the reader.
From "Secrets of the High Country" to "A Short Walk in Papua New Guinea", the stories are personal, often simply told form her experiences in her own garden. Her close study of the mistletoe tree for example gives us an entertaining look at the insects which use this tree as their home. ("Mistletoe and friends")
And the chapter on the phasmid or goliath stick insect (A phasmid of colour and character) will interest students in keeping these insects as pets, while the symbiotic nature of insects is nowhere more telling than in her the tale of the ant and the imperial Blue Butterfly. The butterfly pays its eggs near the ants' nest, the ants then protecting the larvae when they are hatched from the eggs. ("You scratch my back" . . .)
Each chapter is detailed and entertaining, reflecting Clyne's interest and knowledge of the insect world, and readers will appreciate the chatty, personal style that she uses to inform the readers. This is a wonderful reference book, but is also easy to read, the photographs wonderful to look at more closely and the chapters short and to the point.
Fran Knight

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