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  Bugs of Ontario by John Acorn, 2002, Lone Pine Publishing, Edmonton AB, Canada. 2003


Editor's note: Chris Ackerman of Lone Pine Publishing wrote to ask if we would like a review copy of this book, so, of course I said yes. We offer two reviews for you below.

Review by *Christina Davis with input by Jason Davis and Sheldon Davis Sr.
My first impression of Bugs of Ontario with the big, green, scary-looking bug on the cover was that it was a children's book. I flipped through it and noted the colourful keys at the tops of the pages and the bright illustrations that take up almost half of each page. I was still pretty sure that this book couldn't contain much more than pictures that would keep kids occupied for an hour or so. I picked up the book and started to read the introduction. The opening line, "This book is for bugsters" was all it took to get me hooked into reading more.
John Acorn uses a conversational and fun tone to cover all the basics that any good nature guide would cover. The language is not so difficult as to confuse a child but complete enough to also interest an adult. I found that in about half an hour, I had learned quite a few new and interesting facts. The "bugs" in this book are broken down into groups with a key at the front and coordinating colours at the tops of the pages which makes it quick and easy to find what you are looking for. The illustrations are very good although the scale is hard to determine since they have all been drawn the same size. The conversational tone that was used in the introduction is also used in the descriptions which at times was a bit frustrating and the focus seemed to be on something interesting about each with the only real facts mentioned consistently being the length or wingspan and the habitat.

Overall, I would recommend Bugs of Ontario to anyone who is interested in getting to know the creepy-crawlies around us a bit better. As an introductory book, it will allow the reader to learn the names of what we see around us and lots of interesting facts about "the 125 coolest bugs of Ontario". Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some rocks to turn over and some observing to do.
*Christina is a GIS specialist in the mapping section of the MNR, Pembroke.

Review by *Carey Purdon with input from Gwen Purdon.

My wife and I have been asked to review "The Bugs of Ontario" by John Acorn and Ian Sheldon, IBSN 1-55105-287-3, published by Lone Pine Publishing, 2003.

This is a 5.5x8.5 inch, 160 page, soft-cover book. The book begins with a color coded grouping of the "bugs" including butterflies, moths, beetles, wasps ants and bees & sawflies, two-winged flies, lacewings, sucking bugs, grigs, damselflies and dragonflies, aquatic larva, adults, and non-insect arthropods. This is followed by a picture grouping (thumbnails, ed) of the species included in the book (125) which is great for quick reference. The book continues with an introduction to the basics of insect watching then outlines how the authors decided on the 125 species or groups of "bugs" to include in the book from the approximately 30,000 species of "bugs" in Ontario.

The main portion of the book is an account of the 125 bugs, one to a page, each starting with a great painting of that species or representative of the group, then a non-scientific, descriptive, humorous, practical, anecdotal account of that "bug" from the authors' perspective.

A photograph of John and his son, lying crossways on a boardwalk, unhurriedly, but intently searching the aquatic treasures below, together, sharing, yet each lost in their own adventure, that seems to address the audience, the goals and, for me personally, the take home message of this book. This is a book for the parent or the child (great stocking stuffer!!) A book that encourages an "experience" with the insect and the world it lives in, an experience that is felt with the heart and the head, an experience that is to be shared personally and with others, an experience that is treasured and remembered.

There is an instant connection to the authors visually and emotionally as the authors' accounts awaken the child (or childhood memories) in all of us, a connection that permissively enables us to stop, to listen, to look and to inquire. It encouraged me to go beyond my comfort zone, a lesson transmitted to my other walks in life.

I would not recommend this as a reference field guide, but for the beginner it would be great to have in the car, at the beach, a picnic or a backyard nature walk. This is a book we wished we had available when our children were growing up. I would recommend this book to people of all ages, to all with a little bit of a "busgster" in them. Enjoy the adventure.
*Carey is an MD with an office in Cobden.

  

 

 

 

 

 

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