Bugs Abound

The world is thrumming with insect life. In the summer I feel more aware of all the bugs around us.Paschkis Summer Birds p6When I illustrated Summer Birds by Margarita Engle I got to spend some time with insects. When I began the book I knew it would be fun to illustrate imaginary creatures and misconceptions about metamorphosis, but it turned out to be equally entertaining to draw real insects.Paschkis Summer Birds p30-31

In a field of one square mile you will find as many insects as there are people on the entire planet. The Smithsonian Institute estimates that there are 10 quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) insects on earth. That means there are 200 million insects for each human being.

Raul Dufy 1911

Raul Dufy 1911

There are roughly 900,000 different kinds of living species of insects, fascinating in their particulars. Check out the website What’s That Bug to see some of them.

Here is an unscientific selection of some bugs that have buzzed through children’s books, in chronological order.

In 1807 John Harris came out with the Butterfly’s Ball. It was one of the first books made to delight children as opposed to improve or edify them.butterfly ball

The success of that book spawned The Butterfly’s Birthday in 1809, illustrated by William Mulready.Mulready Butterfly

Palmer Cox (who created the Brownies) painted this is 1890. .queerie queers 1890

Kafka published Metamorphosis in 1915. In 1927 you could have tea with Fly Ratter Tatter, illustrated by Vladimir Konashevich.fly ratter tatter

Some bugs are easier to love in art than in life. This lone cockroach and the swarming mosquitos below are from Alyonushka’s Tales, illustrated by Yuri Vasnetsov in 1935:
vasnetsov kitchenvasnetsov bear mosquitos

John Langstaff wrote Frog Went A-Courtin in 1955 and Feodor Rojankovsky won a Caldecott for the illustrations. The book teems with bugs in minor and major roles.
Rojankovsky frogRojankovsky flyRojankovsky fly pie593Rojankovsky snakeNext to come in was a little chick,Rojankovsky chick591

Wm. Steig’s Presumptuous Insect is not from a children’s book but it begged to be included.steig insect

Doug Florian is a modern master of the insect. Check out his books Insectlopedia from 2002 and Unbeelievables from 2012.drones

…I’ve got to fly now.
Don’t bug out!
Bee well!

Margaret Chodos-Irvine illustration for Buzz by Janet Wong 2000

Margaret Chodos-Irvine’s illustration for Buzz by Janet Wong, 2000

Update: Joellyn Rock sent a link to this video that she made called Pollinatrix the Pollinator. Buzz over and check it out!


17 responses to “Bugs Abound

  1. Julie, I love your posts and the images you use to illustrate your topic. Thanks!

  2. Bee-ooti-fly done!

  3. What a lovely post! Thanks, Julie.

  4. Wow, did you draw the top two? They’re delightful!

    • Julie Paschkis

      Yes – thanks! They are from the book Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian by Margarita Engle.

  5. Fascinating, beautiful, delightful post!

  6. I always LOVE your posts. This one is Beetleful!

  7. Dear Julie,
    Your post–and the fireflies here in the meadow in Maine tonight–are de-light-ful!

  8. Julie Paschkis

    I wish we had fireflies in the northwest…

  9. billmitchellwh

    Wonderful posts, Julie. Hope you and Joe Max are doing well.

  10. Thank you for another fabulous post, Julie–and how neat to Margaret’s BUZZy bee! As for Steig’s Presumptuous Insect: I had been wondering how to address my resident bugs, and now I know.

  11. Pingback: Creative Courage for Young Hearts: 13 Emboldening Picture Books Celebrating the Lives of Great Artists, Writers, and Scientists | MotionBump Reader

  12. Pingback: Creative Courage for Young Hearts: 15 Emboldening Picture Books Celebrating the Lives of Great Artists, Writers, and Scientists | brainpickings.testlizard.com

  13. Pingback: Maria Merian’s Butterflies: The Illustrated Story of How a 17th-Century Woman Forever Changed the Course of Science Through Art | brainpickings.testlizard.com

  14. What could a silly old woman who saw her first ant as a threat to her life? Well of course, insects would have been my first study in the university library, but I was too busy learning to be a teacher. But these delightful and amusing pictures of insects (love em) are still a bother and a nuisance, but somehow akin to understanding the creation of the world. How a small child revolves around little art and science ideas to try and figure what the insect identification might be. Some how illustrations, encyclopedias, India, Hindu, Buddhism, figure into my mixed up thinking about the life cycle of an insect, any insect. This blog is so great, and I am old, still love the creation of the illustrator of an insects development. Would one say there is fantasy and science fiction in all this wondering from early childhood and at the last where one can not longer reason or see? Thanks for this work. mrsatk

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s