Bugs of Alberta


160 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55105-146-X
DDC 595.7'097123




Reviewed by Sandy Campbell

Sandy Campbell is a reference librarian in the Science and Technology Library at the University of Alberta.


John Acorn is an internationally known nature writer and broadcaster,
who has dedicated himself to making nature accessible. He has authored
or coauthored several useful field guides for Lone Pine Publishing. An
entomologist by training, he has turned his attention to “bugs” in
this volume.

Like other books in the Lone Pine Field Guide series, Bugs of Alberta
opens with a thumbnail section, followed by a section that covers
individual species. This section is titled “125 of Alberta’s Coolest
Bugs.” Unfortunately, 125 is a minuscule percentage of Alberta’s
“bugs”; the hawk moth is among those not included.

The layout of each entry in the book is also familiar, with large
illustrations taking up about half the page and the text filling the
other half. Most of the illustrations are of the adult form of the bug.
Since children are more likely to be able to capture caterpillars than
moths, illustrations of the larvae (at least in the butterfly and moth
section) would have been useful.

The text recalls the chatty, layman’s language Acorn uses in his
television show. He describes a moth as a “clutzy flier,” beetles as
exhibiting “tender parental care,” and myths about “bugs” as
“hooey” and “baloney.” There are few words in the book for which
the average adult would require a dictionary.

Given the dearth of Alberta “bug” books, this would be a good
addition to local public, school, and household field guide collections.


Acorn, John, and Ian Sheldon., “Bugs of Alberta,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 15, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/8859.