Monday, December 12, 2016

New chidren's books from Te Papa Press

Two fascinating new children’s books from Te Papa Press back up the science behind the blockbuster Bug Lab exhibition that opened in Wellington this weekend. They unveil recent discoveries about the super-sized powers of some of the world’s most astounding insects and spiders.

In The Genius of Bugs, biologist and award-winning author Simon Pollard draws on the latest research to reveal why, for example, the delicate dragonfly is four times better at catching prey than a lion, and how a beetle sets off an explosion in its bottom to defend itself.

Pollard acted as a science advisor on the exhibition, and with the help of up-close, dramatic photography, he introduces a cast of the most ingenious bugs – from the master-of-disguise orchid mantis to the killer brain-surgeon jewel wasp. New Zealand bugs feature, too, from the mountain stone wētā and water spider to the long-legged harvestman.

In its companion publication, The Genius of Bugs Activity Book, children can pit their own brain power against a number of resourceful creepy crawlies. Activities from a traditional word find to creative puzzles showcase insect behaviour, and children get to see if they can outsmart the fearsome portia spider’s prey, spot the cunning orchid mantis and decipher the fireflies’ secret code. Hand-drawn illustrations by leading New Zealand illustrator Kieran Rynhart, along with brain-teasers, bug fact boxes and the occasional joke, will keep curious young bug lovers engaged.

The Genius of Bugs and The Genius of Bugs Activity Book were inspired by the Bug Lab exhibition, a spectacular immersive experience developed by Te Papa in collaboration with Weta Workshop, that runs until April 2017.

The Genius of Bugs
By Simon Pollard
Published by Te Papa Press
ISBN: 978–0–9941362-1-3
32 pages, paperback, $24.99

The Genius of Bugs Activity Book
Published by Te Papa Press
ISBN: 978–0–9941362-0-6
24 pages, paperback, $14.99

Simon Pollard is a successful children’s author, spider biologist and natural history writer and photographer. Currently Adjunct Professor of Science Communication at the University of Canterbury, he acted as a Science Advisor to Te Papa and Weta Workshop on the Bug Lab exhibition. Simon has twice won the LIANZA Elsie Locke Award for Non-fiction Book of the Year and been a finalist three times in the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, where he has also twice won the Children’s Choice Award.

Simon also acted as editorial advisor on The Genius of Bugs Activity Book, which was developed and produced by the same team behind the successful New Zealand Art Activity Book (Te Papa Press, 2013).

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