A Book of Flies: Real of OtherwiseIllustrated by Leonard Baskin

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If an insect can fly, we might think it’s a fly and call it a fly, but can it join the club Diptera? That club (scientists call it an “order”) is reserved for real flies only-to join, an insect must have six legs and two wings.

There are close to 90,000 species of flies. In the witty poems and paragraphs of this enlightening book, you’ll discover fantastic flies that exist only in the imagination and fascinating facts about nine real files-and even some non-flies you thought were flies!

With a humorous and descriptive mix of poetry and prose, the author exposes several extraordinary variations of this ordinary household pest. Realistic and interpretive drawings mingle on the pages to depict the types of flies you might encounter. It’s something to think about the next time you go to swat a fly!

  • New York Public Library’s 1999 “Best Children’s Books for Reading and Sharing.”

“When it comes to intriguing books about science… one dazzles. Tops is Richard Michelson’s A Book of Flies… an innovative melding of poetry and science.”
—Sacramento Bee

“First of all there are those attention getting magnificent illustrations; then there is that conversational text with just the kind of detail to entice readers; and finally there are the poems-jaunty, rhythmic rhymes-which lie lightly on the tongue and ear.”
—The Horn Book

“[T]he sly wit of both drawings and text will make this a book that both children and adults can enjoy together.”
—Publishers Weekly Starred review

“[R]elying as much on language and imagination as on pictures and information…Appeals to the emerging poet as well as the budding scientist.”
—The Hungry Mind