12 Children’s Books About Insects and Other Wee Critters

We have been spending as much of our last couple of weeks of summer vacation outside as possible. Nothing says summer like my kids proudly returning home with dead dragonflies, introducing their friends to spittlebugs, or chasing butterflies with butterfly nets. Here are twelve books about butterflies, ants, crickets, bees, ladybugs, spiders and worms that I hope will encourage your kids to run outside and engage in some serious late-summer bug watching.

The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle. A little cricket tries unsuccessfully to greet one insect after another, but his wings make no sound. One day the cricket meets a female cricket, and this time when he rubs his wings together the cricket chirps a beautiful song. This repetitive story is both fun to read aloud and introduces young kids to a variety of insects. For older kids, consider pairing with the uber-informative Chirping Crickets by Melvin Berger and Megan Lloyd. Ages 2+

The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco. A funny, exhuberant story about a group of villagers chasing bees to a bee tree. I love the energy in Patricia Polacco’s illustrations. The Bee Tree offers parents and teachers an opportunity to talk with children about where honey comes from. Ages 2+


Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni. A beautiful, simple story about an inchworm proudly measuring various birds with his body, until he meets a nightingale that threatens to eat him for breakfast. Ages 3+


Becoming Butterflies by Anne Rockwell and Megan Halsey. One of my children’s favorite books. Becoming Butterflies is an engaging introduction to the butterfly life cycle. Anne Rockwell describes a fictional classroom of kids raising butterflies. Other great books about butterflies include The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing Butterflies & Moths by Jim Arnosky, and Butterflies in the Garden by Carol Lerner. Ages 3+

Wonderful Worms by Linda Glaser and Loretta Krupinski. An engaging introduction to worms. Loretta Krupinski’s lovely illustrations depict a variety of animals and flowers in addition to worms. After reading Wonderful Worms for the first time, my four-year-old daughter immediately asked me to read this book to her again. Another great, informative book about worms for slightly older kids is Wiggling Worms at Work by Wendy Pfeffer and Steve Jenkins. Consider pairing with the hilarious Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin. Ages 3+

Bugs Are Insects by Anne Rockwell and Steve Jenkins. In this introduction to identifying insects and bugs, Anne Rockwell quizzes readers to make sure we are paying attention. E.g. “A ladybug has an external skeleton. Does that mean it’s an insect?” Steve Jenkins’ cut paper collages of insects (and non-insects) are beautiful. For a straightforward introduction to the basic characteristics of insects, see About Insects: A Guide for Children by Cathryn Sill and John Sill.  Ages 4+

Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing Butterflies & Moths by Jim Arnosky. An engaging introduction to identifying butterflies and moths. Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing Butterflies & Moths is my favorite of Jim Arnosky’s excellent series of Crinkleroot nature guides. Ages 4+

A Ladybug’s Life by John Himmelman. An introduction to the ladybug lifecycle. A Ladybug’s Life stands out because of John Himmelman’s concise, slightly-humorous text and illustrations that depict the world from a ladybug’s perspective. Ages 4+

Those Amazing Ants by Patricia Brennan Demuth and S. D. Schindler. An informative introduction to how an ant colony functions. Those Amazing Ants has convinced me that ants are indeed one of the most fascinating creatures on the planet. Consider reading Those Amazing Ants along with Hey, Little Ant by Phillip Hoose et al. (see below) or Diary of an Ant by Doreen Cronin. Ages 4+

Butterflies in the Garden by Carol Lerner. A beautifully illustrated book that introduces kids to various butterfly species and explains how to attract butterflies to your yard. Butterflies in the Garden is the perfect choice for those interested in creating a butterfly garden. Ages 5+

Hey, Little Ant by Phillip Hoose, Hannah Hoose, and Debbie Tilley. Presents a moral dilemma to kids: to kill or not to kill an ant. Hey, Little Ant has an entertaining format; a boy and an ant debate in rhyme whether or not the boy should step on the ant. In the end, the reader is left to decide what the boy should do. (To my horror, my four-year-old daughter decided without hesitation that the boy should squish the ant. My six-year-old son objected.) Ages 5+

Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss. A hilarious cartoon diary of a spider. Kids need to know a little something about spiders to understand the jokes. Thus, this is an excellent book to read to kids who have just learned about spiders. Diary of a Spider is one book in a trilogy that also includes Diary of a Worm and Diary of an AntAges 6+

This entry was posted in Ages 2+, Ages 3+, Ages 4+, Ages 5+, Ages 6+, Ages 7+, Ages 8+ and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 12 Children’s Books About Insects and Other Wee Critters

  1. Anonymous says:

    Inspiring choices!!!!!! Thank you

  2. Ticia says:

    That’s a great list of insect books

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s