Megabugs: And Other Prehistoric Critters That Roamed the Planet

by Helaine Becker (Author) John Bindon (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade
Can you imagine a bug the size of a small crocodile? How about one bigger than a large basketball player? As scary as it may seem, supersized, insect-like critters such as these roamed Earth long before humans. In this peek into prehistory, award-winning science writer Helaine Becker introduces seven of these megabugs, the ancestors of modern-day insects, spiders, crabs and other arthropods, which lived from 480 million to 47 million years ago. The book explores when, where and how they each lived, why they grew so big and what caused their extinction. Highly realistic illustrations show each megabug in its habitat. The end of the book includes a few supersized critters that are still around today! This book hits the sweet spot for the many young fans of dinosaurs, prehistoric life and insects of all kinds. Thoroughly reviewed by paleontological experts, the information is presented in an easy-to-digest format for a hi-lo audience (high interest, low reading level). Each spread features one animal and loads of visuals --- such as a size chart that shows how big the animal could grow, a timeline placing it in its geological period and a map of where its fossils have been discovered. Sidebars provide further context on such topics as adaptation, fossils and the Permian Extinction. Detailed illustrations by John Bindon are based on fossil evidence and were created in consultation with experts in the field. This book has terrific STEAM applications in earth science and life science. End matter includes a glossary, resources and an index.
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Kirkus Reviews

Enticing fare for fans of all things Paleo. (glossary, timeline, index) (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Publishers Weekly

"Imagine, deep in the jungle... a swift-moving millipede almost twice your size slithers toward you, snapping its slavering jaws." B-movie superlatives and natural history museum-diorama aesthetics set the tone for this information-rich exploration of seven Paleozoic arthropods. Bindon's colorful, detailed illustrations based on "research and fossil evidence" anchor data-laden spreads that show pronunciation and name meaning, habitat, "fave snack," fossil locations, and the relative size of each creature vis-à-vis a child, among other data points, while Becker's slangy prose explains what makes each "megabug" special. Inset text boxes identify and concisely explore relevant themes such as oxygen levels and mutation. It's an appealing way to engage kids fascinated by creepy crawlers. Concisely explains arthropods and eras, and includes a glossary, index, and list of further reading. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 3-7--All of the seven megabugs explored here are arthropods. The author defines arthropod, then places these prehistoric creatures in Earth's time line, providing important information such as the age of the Earth, the names of the geological eras, and the many periods that comprise an era. Information about how fossils are formed and how rocks can be dated is included. Each megabug has a two-page spread and features a colorful, detailed illustration of the creature and its environs (illustrations were reviewed for accuracy by a trio of paleontologists). Facts such as physical characteristics, when it existed, along with its habitat, diet, how it protected itself, and what potentially caused it to go extinct are mentioned. VERDICT Information is presented clearly and simply in this fascinating (and slightly creepy) exploration of mind-boggling prehistoric megabugs. Recommended for science lovers and casual browsers.--Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn

Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

A book for all school and public libraries.—CM Magazine
Helaine Becker
Helaine Becker is a bestselling children's author of more than ninety books, including Hubots, Monster Science, Zoobots, The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea and Lines, Bars and Circles. She is a two-time recipient of the Lane Anderson Award and a winner of the Silver Birch Award and the Red Cedar Award. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Kids Can Press
Publication date
October 01, 2019
BISAC categories
JNF003050 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Animals | Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures
JNF003120 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Animals | Insects, Spiders, etc.
JNF025150 - Juvenile Nonfiction | History | Prehistoric
Library of Congress categories
Arthropoda, Fossil
Insects, Fossil

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