Picture Books: Bugs & More


As I wrap up my current project, it's time to have another book list!

There seems to be a pattern, actually. I start on a project, and we suddenly need to read dozens of picture books on the topic. Since I'm wrapping up my Bug, Bug, Spider coloring book right now, I wanted to share some of our favorite bug books with you, along with a few extras about other types of invertebrates.

Are you a snail, book cover

I've linked to the books' pages on Goodreads, in case you want to bookmark them for later:

Picture books / read-alouds:

  • Small Wonders: Jean-Henri Fabre & His World of Insects,  by Matthew Clark Smith, illustrated by Giuliano Ferri—beautiful illustrations and a nice biography of one of the early entomologists, though it doesn't have not nearly enough information about the discoveries he made!
  • A Beetle is Shy, by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Sylvia Long—a book that is both fun and gorgeous! This author & illustrator team will probably make it onto any list of nature stories I ever write. 
  • Are You a Snail? by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries, Backyard Books—this one is part a whimsical series of nature stories that imagines kids as different insects, while explaining each insects behavior and abilities. 
  • Bees Like Flowers, by Rebecca Bielawski—a good introduction to bees for preschoolers. This book is very simple and a bit cartoony, but still thorough.
  • Insect Detective, by Steve Voake, illustrated by Charlotte Voake—a cute introduction to the study of insects, with lots of ideas for a bug hunt outside. 
  • Spiders and other creepy-crawlies, by David West—some people might find this one a bit...creepy! It's an unusual sort of look-inside book, showing the internal organs of half-a-dozen invertebrates! 
  • In One Tidepool: Crabs, Snails, and Salty Tails, by Anthony Fredericks, illustrated by Jennifer DiRubbio—not exactly a ‘bug’ book, but it does feature a number of aquatic invertebrates, along with a fun rhyming story. 
  • Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal—another book that isn’t a true bug book, but still shows a wide variety of bugs in their own habitat…down in the dirt. 

    ladybugs, book cover

    Longer books:

    • Spiders! Strange and Wonderful, by Laurence Pringle ; illustrated by Meryl Henderson—fairly long for a read-aloud, but fascinating 
    • Ladybugs, by Gail Gibbons—this author is another one of our favorites for science/nature topics. Her books have a fairly simple art style, but are very well-written and interesting. 
    • Butterflies, by Seymour Simon—another fairly long book, but Simon's books a great in-depth read for grade-school kids.
    • Backyard Insects, by Millicent E. Selsam and Ronald Goor—how do insects manage to survive? This book shows how, all the way from walking stick insects to click beetles. 
    • Pagoo, by Holling C. Holling—the story of a hermit crab. This book is a cross-over between picture books and chapter books. It's definitely written for older kids, but it was one of my favorites when I was growing up.

    Do bugs wear shoes? book cover

    Factoids and Reference Books:


    a collection of kids books about bugs


    What are your favorite books about bugs, spiders, or other invertebrates? Leave a comment below with your suggestions! I've love to check them out.


    UPDATE: Bug, Bug, Spider: A Coloring Book for Kids is now available on Amazon. It has a fun backstory that you can read about here, as well a set of sample pages you can get by signing up for my newsletter.

    A bug coloring book for kids

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