We're always looking for more books about cicadas. Please e-mail us
if you know of any that are not on our list!
E-mail us at Cicadas@SaltTheSandbox.org
Books for Children
Here are some books that are only about cicadas:
The first book introduces Periodical Cicadas to the youngest children.
words by Kita Helmetag Murdock and Patsy Helmetag.
Annapolis, MD: Possum Products, 2004. 26 p.
Here is Dad's review, from his CicadaBlog:
Many articles and blog posts about Periodical
Cicadas emphasize adults’ dislike,
disgust, and even fear of these insects. Bloggers sometimes trace their feelings to
childhood experiences—stepping on cicadas, bumping into flying cicadas, or feeling
a cicada dropped down their shirt. This gets me wondering—what can we do for today’s
kids to help them enjoy these amazing bugs? (My own boys have already promised not
to force cicadas on their bug-phobic friends, but there must be something more.)
Before the big Cicada Emergence of 2004, a mother
and grandmother in Washington,
DC, felt similar concerns. They wrote and illustrated a book—Cecily Cicada—especially
for preschoolers who needed help with that year’s cicadas. Cecily Cicada tells her life
story in terms young kids relate to—by giving her human feelings. Wouldn’t seventeen
years underground get boring? Then let’s imagine how Cecily might pass the time. How
does it feel to shed your skin and grow wings? Cecily was surprised—she didn’t know
what was coming. What do cicada songs sound like to Cecily? Of course, they’re so
beautiful that she fell in love with the singer!
Reading Amazon.com reviews, it’s clear that
Cecily Cicada helped lots of kids in 2004—
it’s a parent-tested and child-approved way to subvert cicada-phobia. I asked my neighbor
to try the book with her children, and she said it communicated lots of facts about cicadas
along with all the fantasy. However, it might not be as effective with children older than about
If there’s a child in your life who might need
help preparing for this year’s Periodical Cicadas,
you can visit the following Web page for information about purchasing the book:
You can also buy copies at:
Magic Tree Bookstore in Oak Park, IL
The Morton Arboretum store in Lisle, IL (Also check out their exhibits and programs about
The Grove Store at The Grove Interpretive Center in Glenview IL. (Also check out their
exhibit on Periodical Cicadas.)
The next one is Dad's personal favorite book about Periodical Cicadas:
When the Woods Hum /
words by Joanne Ryder and illustrations
by Catherine Stock. New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1991. 29 p.
Dad's review of this book from a
few years ago:
This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of a father who
introduces his young daughter to the amazing life of the
Periodical Cicada. First they find a few holes dug by nymphs,
and he gives her a dried cicada he collected as a boy, 17 years
before. Then, one warm evening, he takes her to the woods to
watch thousands of nymphs crawl out of their holes, climb trees,
and shed their skins. After a day or so of rest, the cicadas fill
the woods with their humming songs.
17 years later, the girl returns with
her young son. With her father,
they walk "through the woods that hummed and roared with the
sound of cicadas calling at last, calling once more."
Daddy cried. The next time
Periodical Cicadas emerge in our
neighborhood, it will be the year 2007. Ethan will be 12, and
Aaron will be 10. I hope they still love bugs!
These books are about all kinds of cicadas (not just periodical ones):
This book provides a wide range of
background information and photos about
all types of cicadas. Some of the text specifically describes Periodical Cicadas,
but most applies to all cicadas. The cover and many other photos are of Periodical
Cicadas and their nymphs (although they are not always identified as such).
Parents can read this book to interested preschoolers through maybe 2nd graders,
and older children can read it by themselves.
This book provides basic information
and great photos about how cicadas grow
up. The cover and some other photos are of Periodical Cicadas (although they
are not identified as such). Many 2nd graders and some 1st grades should be
able to read this book on their own.
Sing-Song / words and photographs by Densey Clyne.
Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens Publishing, 1998. 32 p.
This book has many beautiful photos
and interesting text about cicadas in
Australia. As if kangaroos weren't enough to make us want to visit Australia;
now we want to go there to see the cicadas!
These books have a few pages about cicadas:
This book describes and illustrates
how insects make their songs.
Most of the book is about grasshoppers, katydids, and crickets, but
there is one photo and one page of text about cicadas near the end.
This book is an adaptation of a Japanese book by Sato Yuko. (That
may mean that the species they show are mainly from Japan.)
There is only one page of text and
one photo of an adult cicada beginning
to emerge from its nymphal skin. However, the information and photos of
how other types of insects grow up make it worth taking this book home
from the library.
Scientific Literature on Cicadas
Do you want to read books and articles written by scientists, for scientists?
Then start with these pages from the Cicadas of Michigan Website:
List of "miscellaneous references
containing information on cicadas":
Published scientific literature
on periodical cicadas (Magicicada spp.).:
Click here to return to our
main Periodical Cicada page.
Copyright 2000-2007 Eric D. Gyllenhaal
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This page was created on August 26, 2000, and it was last updated on May 16, 2007.