How to Survive as a Firefly {Early Learning Picture Book} by Kristen Foote

 Unit Study about Fireflies

A few weeks ago we were introduced to a really neat educational picture book, How to Survive as a Shark, that teaches children all about the day to day life of a shark, from birth to adulthood. We enjoyed this book so much; I knew I had to check out more from Kristen Foote's How to Survive series. We recently added a new one to our collection, this time with a focus on the lifespan of a firefly. If you haven't already guessed the title, it's How to Survive as a Firefly.

How to Survive as a Firefly provides a unique take on insect science that will entertain and educate in and out of the classroom. Full of opportunities for extended learning, this book includes fun facts hidden throughout the hilarious illustrated story – and after, a glossary of important terms and some real firefly photos. If you’ve ever wondered how these fascinating beetles grow and glow — and like to laugh while you learn — this book is for you!

Kristen Foote is the author of How to Survive as a Firefly and How to Survive as a Shark. With a degree in biology, she is a firm believer that learning about science can be fun (and funny!). She's a Colorado transplant who, when not writing, is enjoying everything the Rocky Mountains have to offer with her husband and two kids. How to Survive as a Firefly is her first book.

With autumn officially kicking off at the end of the week, we've still been able to get in a few stretches of warm summer weather here in upstate NY. One of my favorite things to do as a child during the warm weather was gaze at the fireflies as they light up at night. We would count them as their lights would flicker all around us. As a mother, it's fun to now watch my own child enjoy these simple, yet, memorable pastimes as I once did when I was his age. Now, with How to Survive as a Firefly, he will also be equipped with fun knowledge about these creatures that will make his firefly watching adventures even more interesting.

How to Survive as a Firefly opens up with a scene that almost reminds me of some type of firefly boot camp. Several larvae are just waking up to find their drill sergeant ready to go over the ropes with them. He first teaches them all about the four stages of metamorphosis that they will go through, and then moves on to the rest of the life essentials such a hunting for food and even mating. 

My son enjoyed hearing all the fun facts about these captivating insects, and there was a lot of really interesting information to take in. To be honest, the book even offered quite the educational experience for this mom, right here. I'm not afraid to admit that I wasn't really up to date on the life cycle of a firefly or the very specifics, so while reading this book with my son, we both actually learned new things together. That's one of the exciting things about homeschooling that I particularly appreciate–being able to learn new things together with your children. 

So, you may be complicated could a firefly's life really be?

Well, did you know that fireflies don't reach maturity for several years, but when they finally do become adults, they only live for about a month or even as little as five days. As an adult, their main priority is to find a mate, so that they can leave behind firefly eggs and allow the cycle to continue. Of course, there are all kinds of predators to look out for, including another species of fireflies, whose females will trick males in order to have them for dinner. Yikes! Speaking of dinner, did you know that fireflies do the majority of eating during the larvae stage of their lives.

The story offers a humorous take on what's it like to be a firefly, but since it's also an educational book, it's sure not to leave out the not so luxurious aspects. I definitely appreciate that the author does this, because when I'm teaching my son, I want him to learn the true facts, both good and bad. Of course, the humor in the book allows things to be shown in a more positive tone, which is also nice for young children.

The illustrations by Erica Salcedo are really fun. As we turn each page, we can pick up on the personalities of the different larvae characters, as well as the intimidating, down to business demeanor of the drill sergeant. The back of the book also offers a frequently asked question page for further discussions that weren't already mentioned in the story, as well as a glossary and real photography of fireflies in their different stages of life.

We are definitely enjoying How to Survive as a Firefly. There is quite a bit of helpful information included, so it's the perfect resource for an insect or firefly unit study in both a homeschool or traditional classroom setting. I only hope that Kristen Foote continues this series, because we are definitely ready to add more to our collection.

Be sure to also check out my review for How to Survive as a Shark.

For every ten books sold, The Innovation Press will donate one book to First Book. This helps get more of their books into the hands of kids and teachers who are in need. To learn more about The Innovation Press and their collection of children's books, be sure to also visit them on social media:

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