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Children's Nonfiction Experiments & Projects

The Insecto-files

Amazing Insect Science and Bug Facts You'll Never Believe

by (author) Helaine Becker

illustrated by Claudia Dávila

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Mar 2009
Experiments & Projects, Insects, Spiders, etc.
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2009
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2009
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 6


Helaine Becker’s knack for turning great information into great fun is right at home in the insect world — a micro-universe full of feats of strength and tales of adventure! Through witty text and wacky illustrations young readers will learn to identify and classify insects from the everyday to the rare and fantastic. The Insecto-files brings bug facts to life with simple, insightful (and cruelty-free!) entomological experiments. Found throughout the book, each experiment can be safely performed at home without special equipment, unusual ingredients, or following fussy directions. Want to “speak” to fireflies and “sing” to crickets? Make your own bursting bug bombs? Break up an ant picnic? Through experiments like these, The Insecto-files feeds into kids’ natural curiosity and love of wacky fun, allowing them to actively learn about bugs on their own terms. Each experiment is accompanied by a “What’s Going On?” feature, so that kids can see that within each activity is a fascinating lesson in bug behavior. Readers will also encounter real-life insect inspectors along the way and learn about their zany experiments, all in the name of science!

About the authors


Helaine Becker
est l'auteure de nombreux livres jeunesse primés. Elle a écrit plus de 80
livres, dont Raconte-moi les graphiques : L'histoire de William Playfair et
l'album illustré à succès Un porc-épic dans un sapin. Helaine
habite à Toronto, en Ontario.


HELAINE BECKER is the author of numerous of books of fiction and non-fiction for children, among them the best-selling A Porcupine in a Pine Tree and its sequel, Dashing Through the Snow: A Canadian Jingle Bells, The Haunted House That Jack Built and Little Jack Horner, Live from the Corner. Her books have won the Silver Birch Award and the CBA Libris Award and have been shortlisted for the Red Cedar, the Hackmatack and the Rocky Mountain awards. Helaine lives in Toronto with her family. Visit her at

Helaine Becker's profile page


CLAUDIA DÁVILA a été directrice artistique des magazines Chirp et ChickaDEE, en plus d’être l’auteure-illustratrice de la série de bandes dessinées primées The Future According to Luz et de l’album Super Red Riding Hood. Elle a également illustré l’ouvrage percutant et multi récompensé Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War de Michel Chikwanine et Jessica Dee Humphreys, ainsi que Viminy Crowe’s Comic Book de Marthe Jocelyn et Richard Scrimger. Claudia est née à Santiago, au Chili, et vit maintenant à Toronto avec sa famille.


Claudia Dávila is the former art director of Chirp and chickaDEE magazines, and is the author-illustrator of the award-winning graphic novel series The Future According to Luz and the picture book Super Red Riding Hood. Claudia illustrated the powerful and multi-award-winning book Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War by Michel Chikwanine and Jessica Dee Humphreys, Viminy Crowe's Comic Book by Marthe Jocelyn and Richard Scrimger and The Canadian Kids Guide to Outdoor Fun by Helaine Becker. Claudia was born in Santiago, Chile, and lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and two children.

Claudia Dávila's profile page


  • Short-listed, British Columbia Library Association, Red Cedar Book Award
  • Winner, Fitzhenry Family Foundation, Lane Anderson Award
  • Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Best Books for Kids and Teens Selection
  • Short-listed, Ontario Library Association, Silver Birch Award
  • Short-listed, Atlantic Library Association, Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award

Editorial Reviews

The Insecto-files is jammed with interesting facts presented in kid-friendly language, with illustrations that vary between scientifically accurate and comic-book funny…[fascinating details] capture the imagination and give opportunities for further discussion and reading.


Extremely interactive and thought inspiring with questions and experiments that made us want to try them; amazing support illustrations.

2011 Lane Anderson Award Jury

A mix of colorful cartoons and realistic drawings of insects provides entertaining and educational visual appeal in this blend of energy, irreverence and information.

North Bay Nugget

A book packed with fun experiments and fascinating facts about bugs…with 33 experiments listed and indexed and a good list of scientific concepts covered in the book, there is much of interest for would-be entomologists.

Resource Links

Readers are hooked from the introduction. The collection of original experiments and activities encourages kids in an entertaining way to think, do, and learn.

CM Magazine: Canadian Review of Materials

This book provides children with a fountain of knowledge and insight into the insect world...colorful and comic illustrations will draw the children to the text surrounding them to discover even more.

Canadian Children’s Book News

What separates Becker's book from other insect-focused books is that Becker doesn't just provide fascinating insect facts; she also supplies child-friendly activities or experiments with virtually every two-page 'chapter'.

Scouting Life

Along with the wealth of information about insects, there are fun activities and cute, charming pictures that will appeal to even the biggest of bug fearers.

THE Magazine

Librarian Reviews

The Insecto-Files: Amazing Insect Science and Bug Facts You’ll Never Believe

The Insecto-Files is filled with fascinating facts and easy experiments that will enlighten young entomologists in the schoolyard, backyard or at the cottage. From basic anatomy and quizzes to test their insect recognition skills to wacky trivia about prehistoric dragonflies and male cicadas’ mating calls, this book provides children with a fountain of knowledge and insight into the insect world.

Nearly every spread contains a simple, humane experiment to conduct using basic household items (straws, flashlights, sheets, etc.) and the ‘What’s Going On?’ section explains the bug behaviour the young scientists have observed. Claudia Dávila’s colourful and comical illustrations will draw the children to the text surrounding them to discover even more. Author Helaine Becker also introduces children to scientific terminology that is well explained and key concepts are presented in bold lettering to attract the reader’s attention. She has turned the study of entomology into a light-hearted and fun affair – perfect for budding young scientists.

As all good resource books do, it contains a table of contents and subject index, but also includes a list of experiments and scientific concepts covered – an invaluable resource for teachers.Written for the late primary/junior grades, The Insecto-Files is a fun and interesting read and would make an excellent addition to any classroom, school or home/cottage library.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2009. Vol.32 No.3.

The Insecto-Files: Amazing Insect Science and Bug Facts You’ll Never Believe

Ants, bees, flies and fleas! Kids get acquainted with bugs through crueltyfree enticing experiments that look at breathing, communication, defenses, feeding, flight, hearing, locomotion, nests, tools and vision. Energetic and bold artwork plus fascinating facts appear throughout the text, which includes a glossary and an index.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2010.

Other titles by Helaine Becker

Other titles by Claudia Dávila