Discover Wicked Bugs for Summer Holiday Fun!

The summer holidays are here – sunshine, barbeques, swimming, staying up late… and mosquitoes biting, flies buzzing around the cooked food, moths beating against your torch as you try to read at night, and crickets and cicadas making a racquet when you’re trying to sleep in you tent!  Anyone would think bugs were put here to ruin your summer fun!

But did you know that we humans wouldn’t survive on this big, beautiful planet without our friendly creepy-crawlies to help us along? At last count it is estimated that there are ten quintillion insects alive on Earth right now, which means that for each one of us, there are two hundred million of them! But don’t panic! They all have a job to do, and if you dig deeper (and many of them do live underground), what the insects do for us and the health of the planet is pretty amazing.

File:Cook Strait Giant Weta (5601688959).jpg - Wikimedia CommonsTake New Zealand’s GIANT WĒTĀ (wētāpunga) for example. This big daddy of an insect features in the Guinness Book of Records as being one of the world’s largest insects, and some of them weigh in around 70 grams – about the same weight as a saddleback or sparrow! Department of Conservation staff refer to them as the ‘mouse of the forest’ because their equally giant poos help fertilise the forest floor and help with regeneration of native bush. What a hero! And the Auckland Zoo think so too and have joined forces with DoC and local iwi to reintroduce wētāpunga to islands in the Hauraki Gulf so that they can do their fertilising work and bring back the bush.

And just when you thought things couldn’t get any weirder, did you know that the wētā’s ears are located in their knees?! Yes, really!


File:Chorus Cicada... (6926902643).jpg - Wikimedia CommonsYou really know Summer has arrived when the CICADAS start their noise! But why do they do it? And how?

The high-pitched ‘song’ is actually a mating call belted out by males. Each species has its own distinctive song that only attracts females of its own kind. This allows several different species to live together in one area.

Cicadas are the only insects capable of producing such a unique and loud sound, and they do it by contracting special muscles called tymbals in their abdomen. Some larger species can produce a call in excess of 120 decibels at close range (120 decibels is the equivalent of a thunderclap or a chainsaw)! Smaller species sing in such a high pitch that it cannot be heard by humans, but may cause dogs and other animals to howl in pain.


File:Housefly on Table.jpg - Wikimedia CommonsWe’ve all experienced the FLIES massing as soon as the barbeque is cooking and the salads are out on the picnic table. But why do they do this? The common house fly has a pretty powerful sense of smell and is attracted to strong smells – especially meat, and especially rotting meat! They like to lay their eggs in rotting material so that when their babies – maggots – hatch they have something to eat, yum! But just like the rest of us, adult flies have to eat too so that they’ve got the energy to fly. To eat their food, flies regurgitate (bring up) saliva from their stomachs, which dissolves the food until it is digestible. The house fly then uses its proboscis – like an attached straw where your nose should be – to suck up the liquefied food. Though they eat with their mouths, house flies taste with their feet. This is why they are always crawling on your food.

Lego Weta by EzraCRITTER OF THE WEEK: To tweak you interest further, check out “Critter of the Week”  on Radio New Zealand every Thursday in Afternoons with Jessie Mulligan.  Nicola Toki is the Threatened Species Ambassador for the Department of Conservation and a self-confessed “nature nerd”. Each week she talks  about a lovable member of New Zealand’s wildlife community, many of them our creepy-crawly friends. There was even a competition earlier in the year for you to make the most interesting critter out of Lego and send in a photo. Check out some of the entries here.

“An understanding of the natural world is a source of not only great curiosity, but great fulfilment.”

(David Attenborough – natural historian, environmentalist and planet-hero)



Wellington City Libraries have loads of fantastic books about insects, creepy-crawlies and the people that study insects (entomologists). Take a dive into the fascinating world of bugs… go on! There’s nothing to be afraid of!

The genius of bugs / Pollard, Simon
This book contains a cast of amazing and unexpected bugs, from the killer brain-surgeon jewel wasp to the master-of-disguise orchid mantis, to the New Zealand favourite, the wētā.

 


New Zealand’s backyard beasts / Barraud, Ned
In the garden, creeping along branches, hiding under stones or flitting from flower to flower, a whole universe of creatures is waiting to be discovered. Butterflies, moths, beetles, wasps, spiders. Did you know that  cicadas live underground for most of their life? That bumblebees have smelly feet? That some species of stick insect are all female? Or that earwigs don’t actually crawl into ears? In this book you can learn to identify some of the creatures most commonly found in the backyard.


The bug girl : (a true story) / Spencer, Sophia
Real-life 7-year-old Sophia Spencer was bullied for loving bugs until hundreds of women scientists rallied around her. Sophia tells her inspiring story in this picture book that celebrates women in science, bugs of all kinds, and the importance of staying true to yourself. Sophia Spencer has always loved bugs but when she was bullied at school she stopped talking about bugs altogether. When Sophia’s mother wrote to an entomological society looking for a bug scientist to be a pen pal for her daughter, she and Sophie were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response–letters, photos, and videos came flooding in. Using the hashtag BugsR4Girls, scientists tweeted hundreds of times to tell Sophia to keep up her interest in bugs.


World's Biggest Baddest Bugs (Ruud Kleinpaste) Image at Mighty Ape NZWorld’s biggest baddest bugs
To find the good, the bad and ugly of the insect world, Ruud Kleinpaste – New Zealand’s very own BugMan – embarks on an entomological journey in search of the biggest and the baddest of them all in this two part DVD. From killer bees and army ants, to cockroaches and tarantula, Ruud explains exactly what makes the “stars” of the show so incredible. Through a series of deadly stunts Ruud reveals what makes these crawlies the kings of the bugs and how they are capable of so much more than just scaring us silly.


World’s strangest creepy-crawlies / Derrick, Stuart
This book includes 40 of the planet’s most bizarre species and ranks them in order of their oddness! With jaw-dropping facts and amazing photos, the pages reveal each creature’s seriously strange characteristics and the unusual ways they hunt, eat or defend themselves.   Inside World’s Strangest Creepy-Crawlies, you’ll discover the tiny terror that blows itself up to save its friends, a creature so well disguised even its own species can’t see it, and a giant spider the size of a dinner plate. And with the ‘strange-o-meter’, you can compare each animal based on its creepiness, fight factor and superpowers!


I’m trying to love spiders : (it isn’t easy) / Barton, Bethany
What do you do when you see a spider? a. Lay on a BIG spidey smoocheroo. b. Smile, but back away slowly. c. Grab the closest object, wind up, and let it fly. d. Run away screaming.
If you chose b, c, or d, then this book is for you.
I’m Trying to Love Spiders will help you see these amazing arachnids in a whole new light, from their awesomely excessive eight eyes, to the seventy-five pounds of bugs a spider can eat in a single year And you’re sure to feel better knowing you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than being fatally bit by a spider. Comforting, right? No? Either way, there’s heaps more information in here to help you forget your fears . . . or at least laugh a lot!

Some great new kids fiction to help get us through winter!

 

We are over halfway through winter now – yahoo! This is the perfect time of the year to snuggle up with a good book and hot chocolate. Try one of these new ones that the library has just bought.

 

A Twist of Tales by Julia Donaldson

A king hides a terrible secret under his crown … A marvellous dream inspires an epic journey … A clever girl outwits the king. Told in hyper-readable language and with full-colour illustrations.

 


 

Kensy and Max:  Undercover by Jacqueline HarveyImage courtesy of Syndetics

Kensy and Max are back in London for no time at all before things begin to heat up – quite literally. As a result, Granny Cordelia ships them off to Australia on an undercover mission. The twins find themselves planted in a posh Sydney school where first appearances prove to be deceiving. What seems like a straightforward assignment turns into something so much bigger. Kensy and Max must employ all their spy skills – the fate of their parents, and who they’ve been searching for, depends on it.

 

 

Image courtesy of SyndeticsWe’ll bite your tail, Geronimo by Geronimo Stilton

Professor Greenfur, the onboard scientist on spaceship MouseStar 1, has changed color from green to–orange! What’s going on? To find out, the spacemice travel to his home planet of Photosyntheson. There, they learn that all of Professor Greenfur’s relatives are being threatened by the nibblix, tiny aliens with very sharp teeth! Can the spacemice help in time?

 

Maximillian Fly by Angie SageImage courtesy of Syndetics

Maximillian Fly, a roach-human hybrid, helps two young humans escape from the Bartizan’s eye, only to find himself a key player in a deadly war between roaches and humans

 

 

Image courtesy of SyndeticsMeet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi

In this compilation of four separately published books, Pakistani American second grader Yasmin learns to cope with the small problems of school and home, while gaining confidence in her own skills and creative abilities.

Kids’ Club Review by Aadarsh: Grace Hopper Queen of Computer code

Syndetics book coverGrace Hopper : queen of computer code / written by Laurie Wallmark ; illustrated by Katy Wu.

This book is about someone called Grace Hopper. She loves computer code.

I like Grace Hopper because she made computer code. My favorite part of a book is where she found a bug (a real one) in a computer system and from then on everyone calls computer problems bugs. I recommend this book to people aged from 6-10. I give this book a rating of 5 out of 5

5 stars

Reviewed by Aadarsh from Johnsonville and Churton Park School , 8 years old

Kids’ Club Review by Molly: Beetle Boy

Beetle Boy, by M G Leonard

Beetle boy is about a boy named Darkus who’s dad has mysteriously disappeared. One day Darkus finds a beetle and names him Baxter. Together, they must find out why Lucrutia Cutter wants the thousands of beetles from next door and what does she have to do with Darkus’s dads disappearance? I really enjoyed this book. It was a great read. I rated it 4 stars.

4 stars

Reviewed by Molly  from Karori and Karori Normal School , 10 years old

Kids’ Club Review by elena: Beetle boy

Beetle boyBeetle boy, by M. G. Leonard

I thought it was amazing but also sad when the boy’s dad goes missing and he has to stay with his uncle and discovers a beetle the size of a hamster!

5 stars

Reviewed by elena from Miramar and Miramar Christian School , 9 years old

Kids’ Club Review by Carson: NZ bugs and critters

NZ bugs and crittersNZ bugs and critters, by Dave Gunson

It’s a good book. I like it because it talks about many different bugs, like beetles, ants, snails, and gigantic flies. I know that moths like to follow light, and daddy longlegs spiders have very long legs.

5 stars

Reviewed by Carson from Tawa and , 5 years old

April School Holiday Fun!

Did you know that dragonflies have been around for 300 million years or that our native snail, the Powelliphanta, can live for up to 20 years? What do you know about bugs and other creepy crawlies? Love them or hate them bugs are fascinating! In fact at Wellington Libraries we think Bugs are so awesome we put beehives on the roof of Central Library.

These school holidays we are going to be worming our way into the World of bugs, through games, fun facts, microscopes and crafts. So fly down to your local library and join in with some of the fun, free activities we have on offer, during the April school holidays.

These free events are for children aged 6+

Mervyn Kemp  Library – Tawa: Wednesday 19 April at 11am

Karori Library: Wednesday 19 April at 2pm

Ruth Gotlieb Library – Kilbirnie: Thursday 20 April at 10.30am

Cummings Park Library – Ngaio: Friday 21 April at 11am

Miramar Library: Wednesday 26 April at 10.30am

Wellington Central Library: Thursday 27th April at 11am

Johnsonville Library: Thursday 27th April at 11am

Khandallah Library: Thursday 27 April at 6pm

Newtown Library: Friday 28 April at 6pm

7 new back to school children’s non-fiction you must get your hands on!

The holidays may be over, but have no fear, Wellington City Libraries always has fantastic new books in stock for your viewing and reading pleasure. Come on down to your local library and check out what’s new in our junior non fiction collection, especially some must have new reads about the Olympics, which you should get your hands on before the games officially start:

 

image courtesy of syndetics

Travel the world Atlas.

Take a trip around the world and back again where you can  expand your geographical knowledge and stimulate  curiosity with this delightful map book.  Filled with fascinating, bite-sized facts about the landscape and the culture of each geographical region. Great for children over 6 years old.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsSuperbug.

Grab hold of this book and read all about the biggest, fastest, deadliest creepy crawlies on the planet.

 

 

 

IMAGE COURTESY OF SYNDETICSMy Little Book Tractors.

Packed full of cool photos and fascinating facts about tractors. Perfect for reluctant readers and young children interested in tractors and automobiles

 

 

image courtesy of syndeticsPokemon visual companion.

Pokemon madness has taken over the library, especially with the release of this fantastic Pokemon guide. Here is your chance to really catch all the Pokémon you can find, as uncover amazing artwork, fascinating facts and comical anecdotes. This is truly a must have reference for every Pokemon fan!

 

 

image courtesy of syndeticsOlympic Sport: The Whole Muscle-Flexing Story.

From running a marathon to beating your friends at basketball or being the bendiest gymnast around, find out everything you ever wanted to know about sports and games and what it is that makes athletes the best at what they do. A must have read to have in time for the Olympics.

 

 

image courtesy of syndeticsOlympic Expert.

Read this book and discover record breaking sprints of 100m legend Usain Bolt, Gymnast Nadia Comenaeci’s perfect ten, Bob Beamon’s amazing long jump and David Weir’w wheelchair racing heroics and much, much more! This book is also crammed full of facts and statistics, quotes, trivia and lots of other essential information for every Olympic fan. Grab it quick before someone else does.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsMinecraft : the survivors’ book of secrets.

The latest instalment of Minecraft as arrived in the form of  Minecraft : the survivors’ book of secrets. This Official Minecraft book contains collective knowledge of the Survivors – an underground group of Minecraft experts who’ve been around since the early days of alpha. Out in the field you’ll learn how to stalk your enemies, how to master the art of practical munitions and how to crush any opponent in hand-to-hand combat.