The bug collector by Alex G. Griffiths
New Frontier Press, 2019. ISBN 9781925594539.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Insects, Grandfathers, Collecting, Hobbies, Environment, Museums. When his Grandfather takes George to the museum on his favourite day of the week, Sunday, Grandfather takes the lead, pulling him past the dinosaurs, whales and mammoths to a place he likes best of all, the smallest creatures in the museum, the insects. George becomes hooked on these marvellous creatures and can talk of nothing else. He creates a backpack with all the necessary equipment and goes out to collect insects. At first it is very difficult, as the insects seem to know when he is about to net them, but he soon develops skills that see him net and trap a whole array of the insect world. He is very proud of his achievement, looking at all the insects in their finery in glass jars and bottles in his play house, but when he climbs down the ladder to go back home, he feels very alone. It is very quiet, there are no insects buzzing around the garden any more, no small creatures to look at and admire; they are all gone.
Next day in the garden he notices that nothing looks quite right: plants have wilted, trees are losing their gloss and there are no insects to be seen. Grandfather realises that George has taken all the insects from the garden and he explains just how important insects are to the health of the environment they live in. George goes immediately to his play house and opens all the doors and windows, bottles and jars to let the insects out and back into their world.
A life lesson is learnt by all in an easily explained picture book which will evoke tons of discussion in the classroom, and all insects that venture in will be watched with glee. The humorous illustrations fit the bill, with Grandfather in his tiny hat, and Darwinesque beard, George with his backpack and ever present cat, and an array of insects on every page.
I love the ease with which Griffiths outlines some basic information about the role of insects in our world, sure to be much thought about in classrooms.