By Marjorie Facklam
Bugs For Lunch is a short poem designed to introduce kids to the many creatures who eat bugs and various strategies for catching these meals. The twist at the end introduces the idea of entomophagy…people eating bugs. Sylvia Longs illustrations are inviting and vibrant.
As a bonus, at the end, the author gives short interesting paragraphs on each featured feaster. Bugs For Lunch is one of those fabulous books that can be a 5 minute read or a springboard for long, ponderous reading, talking, and thinking.
The rhyme and great pictures make this fun to read, and watching your child ponder the possibility of eating bugs on a stick is amusing. Filling tiny ears with varied words for ‘catch’ and ‘eat’ is validating, and I always like to say ‘entomophagy’ just to take it a step further.
Presenting synonyms in conjunction with familiar words is called ‘recasting’. It’s a strategy used by speech therapists and teachers. Parents can use it as a tool for getting words in kids’ ears. It can become a bit of a game, as you and your parenting partners search for new words for familiar ideas.
To recast: Say a word, then say it again, using a synonym. “Big” can be “gigantic, huge, monstrous, tremendous, immense, colossal, enormous”. When ‘big’ comes out of your mouth, tack ‘immense’ or ‘colossal’ for emphasis:
“That’s a big truck. It’s immense!”
Another strategy is to recast your child’s words:
Kid: “Look at the big bug, Mom!”
Mom: “Oh my! That bug is big! It’s colossal!”
You could start with the SAT word, then recast:
“You have been a tremendous help to me. You’ve made a big difference.”
Bugs For Lunch gives parents an easy way to recast the familiar concepts of ‘catch’ and ‘eat’.
Words for catch: work = prey = trapping = catching = zapping
Words for eat: Eating = snacking = munching = slurping