Heads and Tails: Insects by John Canty

Inside the CBCA Shortlist

Heads and Tails: Insects (Berbay Publishing) is cleanly and consummately designed to appeal to young children and either elicit or nurture their interest in insects.

The form of the clues in the narrative is deliberately repetitive, with every sentence beginning with the word, “I”. The book begins: “I live in a hive. I make honey. I can sting you. I am a …”

This “Guess-who?” structure elicits prediction. Children are also helped by the illustrations showing part of the insect before they turn the page to discover what it is.

The insects include a bee, ladybug and mosquito.

Heads and Tails: Insects is appropriately informative for young children, with the information written in coloured font. It could also be categorised as an information book.

There is a funny, clever twist at the end – lifting this book to an even higher level.

John Canty’s website is http://johncantydesign.com.au/index.html

(He is also a designer of exceptional book covers for adults.)

Using the book with children:

Bird Clues Many of this years’ shortlisted books are about birds. Use Our Birds by Siena Stubbs, the Crichton shortlisted book, Australian Birds by Matt Chunand other resources to select an Australian bird and write three clues about it. Use the format in Heads and Tails:Insects to design a class book.

Read the companion book, Heads and Tails: Underwater by John Canty, which has a similar format to Insects; and another shortlisted book about insects, Here Comes Stinkbug!

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