Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Curiosity Files: Cicada-Killing Wasp Review

We had the opportunity to review The Curiosity Files: Cicada-Killing Wasp E-Book from The Old Schoolhouse.  I have to admit, I was slightly disappointed when I realized that it is an e-book. I am a tangible book lover. I love the feel of the pages in my hands. I love being able to flip through the book and glance at the pictures. I love the smell of the paper. An e-book offers none of those things. That is why I do not own a Kindle or a Nook. Technology. Sheesh.

I soon realized the benefits of the e-book though. While this particular book is very intriguing and is packed full of fascinating information and “Everything You Never Wanted to Know About the Cicada-Killing Wasp,” we found ourselves checking other websites to continue our study of the cicada-killing wasp and also the cicada itself. We found pictures and videos (like this one of the cicada singing its song. So cool!) of the wasps. The convenience of already being on the computer gave us the opportunity to delve into this topic.

The book is written in  conversation style by Professor Ana Lyze, (clever, huh?) Expert in Outlandish Oddities.  It's geared for children 8-13, though my 5-year-old found it enthralling. When a child starts telling everybody everything he's learned about these insects, you know the book's a winner!

 Cicada-Killing Wasp will keep your kids occupied answering questions like these:
  • Okay, they are cicada killers, but what is really significant about them?
  • How can you spot one of these scary wasps? How big are they? 
  • How does the cicada killer’s life cycle mirror that of its prey?
  • Do these “pests” have a beneficial side? 
  • How are the male and female roles very different?
  • What and who are their enemies?
  • In what unique way are the newly paralyzed cicadas used?
  • What great truths can we grasp from the Bible?
  • And a whole lot more!

I was also impressed by all the subjects included in this book. I assumed it would teach science. I did not expect sections dealing with Bible, math, history, and crafts to name a few. There is even a recipe for Cicada-killing wasp snacks! Jake really enjoyed finding photos of the wasps and using his markers to make the coloring pages look exactly like them. He also had fun being a wasp and "stinging and paralyzing" me  and trying to drag me across the house back to his burrow. It really gave him (and me!) a better perspective of the difficulties the wasps have in carrying the cicadas home.

The only negative thing I can say is that there are no pictures of the crafts. I like to see the final product. That's how I choose recipes out of cookbooks or order off a menu at a restaurant. I'm a visual person. All the time, Leighton will explain something to me, and I'll say, "Just show me." 

The great thing about it? There are more! The Curiosity Files have other topics like Zombie Fire Ants and Quicksand. The regular price of a book in this series is $6.95. Currently, there are a few titles on sale for only $1.00 a piece! We enjoyed this book so much, we already purchased another one. Next week we start our study on the dung beetle. I'm just glad the book's not a scratch-n-sniff! Maybe there's something to be said about e-books after all.

We really enjoyed reviewing this e-book and learning about an insect I had never heard of before. Now,  I can't wait to make a bug pooter and nature journal like the book explains. That is if we can ever get these April Showers to stop.

* I was given a free e-book for my review. The opinions are 100% my own.
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  1. This sounds really interesting, Erika. Love all the creative things you do with your kids! This sounds like something my Andrew would like. Great review!

  2. We (Josh would tell you it's his, but we're married, you know. :) ) just got our Coby Kyros yesterday. . . I really love that it holds like a small book, but I can have multiple books, the internet, e-mail, etc. Love it so far!

    I am enjoying the e-book experience.