It’s Tough to be Tiny is a celebration of our microscopic friends, detailing the ways in which they adapt and survive within their environments.
The first section of the book focuses on how these creatures avoid being hunted. We learn about the unique jumping abilities of the planthopper and the springtail, how millipedes and nudibranchs can disarm predators with toxic chemicals, or how other creatures have armour or disguises. Children will love learning about the horse mint tortoise beetle and its poo-inspired defence mechanism, but it is hoped that this is not replicated at home.
Of course, these tiny beings need to eat themselves, but how? Velvet worms trap their prey by shooting goo at them, while a walking flower mantis will disguise itself as a flower to attract its dinner. Other creatures will bite or sting, and there is a lovely double page spread in which eight other insects and arachnids have their hunting methods detailed.
From a science point of view, the attention to detail here is great – fully explained, engaging, and full of fascinating facts that children in the later years in Key Stage 2 would enjoy learning about and sharing. Stacey Thomas’s vivid illustrations add another layer to the book. They sometimes take up the majority of a page, but the text fits well around them in order for the two to work well together. I really liked how some of the creatures were illustrated to create a sense of character, too.
Lots to digest, and lots to learn here, and thoroughly enjoyable too.
Shortlisted for The Week Junior 2023 Younger Non-Fiction Category
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