Thankfully, there are some really amazing writers who have written their own poetry capturing the essence of these and other insects in verse. Poets are often so precise in their use of language that their work can be rich in vocabulary and less intimidating that other types of informational text, while remaining scientifically accurate. Joyful Noise, by Paul Fleischman, is a Newbery Award winning book of poems for two voices that successfully navigates those three characteristics. The title actually comes from the Cicadas poem (read a snippet with this link), which is filled with powerful verbs that mimic the insects' song in a lyrical interplay between the two voices. Honeybees, my all time favorite from this small book, is wonderfully told from two perspectives, a worker and a queen, whose views of life in the hive are vastly different. You do have to watch out for one of the worker's lines, "...slaving away in this hell..." but even kids as young as 2nd grade can quickly pick up on the format for reading these poems (though admittedly the vocabulary would be tough for a 2nd grader to tackle independently!). However, the two voices format also works well for writing about two related, but different, subjects. (Think carnivores and herbivores, plants and animals, stars and planets, tornadoes and hurricanes, etc.)
Insectlopedia, by Douglas Florian, is another insect focused poetry book. Cicadas don't make an appearance here, but other noisy insects like hornets, mosquitoes, locusts and crickets do...alongside their quieter comrades like ticks, mayflies, and army ants. These poems employ a variety of rhyming
patterns and, like Joyful Noise, contain science related vocabulary (parasitic, primeval, swarm, pupa) that somehow seem easier to understand when captured in Florian's simple verse. (For the record, he is a prolific poet and has a number of animal related poetry books...and even one about space!)
Joyce Sidman's Song of the Water Boatman & Other Pond Poems rounds out this trio of insect poetry (though Joyce's work includes other pond-habitat related animals, as well!). This 2006 NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book (and Caldecott Honor) award winner combines the precise language of poetry with additional informational text, presented in the wide margin. (If you click on the book's title, it will take you to Amazon's site for this book where you can "Look Inside" and see an example!) This extra feature really classifies this book in the "dual purpose" genre since you can read the poems, like "Diving Beetle's Food Sharing Rules," and then, if you want to, follow up by reading the short informational paragraph about the predaceous diving beetle (which is really a cool little insect!).
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