The Children’s Book Review | June 28, 2017
Written and Illustrated by Paul Meisel
Age Range: 3-6
Publisher: Holiday House (2017)
What to Expect: Nature, Insects, Natural History
From its birth in Spring until it lays its eggs in fall, the praying mantis’ life is one long, eventful summer. From sharing aphids with his recently hatched brothers and sisters, dodging hungry birds and getting hungry, to shedding his skin and growing wings, this book follows the life of the Praying Mantis through all of its ups and downs.
Paul Meilsel’s illustrations are beautiful watercolors, bursting with realistic and almost photographic detail; inviting readers to identify familiar plants, flowers, birds, and insects. The narrative proceeds day by day, starting on May 17, and detailing almost every day until October 17, then end of summer and the moment when Praying Mantis lies down to “take a long nap”. As the days proceed, the reader gains a detailed knowledge of this unusual (and aggressive) little insect. They learn that praying mantises are not born with wings, that they eat each other when they are young and growing, that they are one of the few insects able to turn their heads, that they shed their skins, lay their eggs in foam, and eat other insects. Interestingly, Meisel does not spare readers the harsh realities of insect life either: through subtle language choices readers are presented with the realities of cannibalism and hunting in the animal world, and even with death as the Mantis gets slower, loses her appetite, and prepares to “take a long nap.” A glossary and list of resources at the end of the book encourage readers to do more research on their own, as well as providing more beautifully illustrated facts. Readers are sure to be left fascinated and a little bit wiser.
About Tricia Levenseller
Paul Meisel is an award-winning author and illustrator for children. His SEE ME RUN (Holiday House, 2012) was voted a Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor book! Paul lives and works in Connecticut, where Paul and his wife and raised their three grown sons. Paul spends most days working in his studio, which has a nice view of the woods and the backyard–often filled with deer, turkeys, an occasional coyote, and once in a great while, a bobcat.
My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis, by Paul Meisel, was reviewed by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Insects, Natural History Books, Nature Studies, Non-Fiction, Picture Book, and Summer Reading.