13 Ways to Eat A Fly. Sue Heavenrich. Illustrated by David Clark. 2020. [December] 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
First sentence: Big flies, small flies, fat flies, thinner. Yum! These flies are someone's dinner. We might think of flies as pests. But many animals--and plants--depend on flies for food.
Premise/plot: The title says it all. What you see is what you get. The book depicts 13 flies getting eaten. It counts backward from 13 to 1. It definitely is not your traditional counting book, and the fact that it's counting backwards is the most traditional thing about it.
In the blink of an eye, a wood frog snaps
out its tongue and catches a fly. The frog
closes its eyes and swallows, using its
eyeballs to push the fly down its throat.
Readers--interested readers drawn in by the weird, the gross, the I-didn't-know-that--can learn more about the different types of flies and all their predators. The last one may be the most disconcerting.
My thoughts: The narrative is enthusiastic and quirky. "If you eat out, make sure you're getting what you pay for. Unscrupulous chefs might be tempted to use substitute ingredients, so remember to count the wings. A fly will have only two wings; other insects have four. Study the menu carefully. There are more than 120,000 kinds of flies, but most establishments serve only a limited variety."
This one won't appeal to everyone. Few books do, same goes with picture books. Perhaps even more so with picture books. Kermit the Frog may LOVE this book, but Miss Piggy may not.
Personally, I'm not entertained by gross fly facts. But a lot of research did go into this one.
© 2021 Becky Laney of Young Readers