Tokuda, Yukihisha, illus. by Kiyoshi Takahashi. I’m a Pill Bug. Kane/Miller, 2006. ISBN: 978-1929132959 28 pp. $
Part of the Nature: A Child’s Eye View series, this unique book about the habits, life cycle and behavior of pill bugs is informational but also a bit … odd. Told in the voice of the pill bug, the tone attempts to be cheery and childlike, but it sounds a bit condescending to this reviewer. This is a translated title, and it could be this is a style we are simply unused to seeing.
The creature is shown actual size, as are the leaves pill bugs eat. The place of pill bugs in the food chain is inferred. It takes nearly twenty pages for the author to reveal that actually, pill bugs are not insects, but are related to crustaceans.
The nature theme and cut paper collage style illustrations are reminiscent of Lois Ehlert, incorporating not just torn colored paper but textures and prints as well. The pages are beautifully composed, and the predators of the pill bug– ants, frogs, lizards and birds–are intricate and lovely.
While a nice introduction to this particular species and the concept of scavengers, this non-fiction picture book is not useful for reports, lacking a bibliography, sources, index, glossary, or map. The theme and subject matter do make a nice fit for the MA 2006 Statewide Summer Reading Program, what’s buzzin’ at your library.