Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Lying to 5-Year-Olds

I just gave an insect presentation to kick off the summer "Catch the reading bug" program at the public library. I took interesting insect specimens, we counted parts, we sang my original "dragon the fly" song: it was all good. Or mostly good. Or at least it satisfied the librarians.
Except that I made up insect names when kids asked. "Oh, that's an emerald beetle. That's a green beetle. That's a saw back beetle. It's a wooly caterpillar" I know that five year olds love to name things, so I'm not sure why I didn't look them up (except lots were beetles and I'm lazy). How bad is that?
It was a green colored beetle, anyway.


Molly said...

Most likely most of those insects that you presented don't have any common name, so why not? I've been looking at your book with Alma and really enjoying it. Don't know why it took me this long to get a copy.

Sparkling Squirrel said...

Well, as long as none of the Smithsonian entomologists will tell these kids their teacher was a stupid liar when they come in and call something a green beetle, I'm okay with that. Thanks for the book plug-- I've gone back and forth about giving it as presents. It feels so darn presumptuous to give something as a gift "here, read this book I edited" but it also explains what I spent my graduate career doing. Anyway, if any of you would actually read a copy, let me know and perhaps some future occasion (by the way, I receive no royalties from sale of this book).

Anonymous said...

Stelios was doing the same thing today in a town in northern Georgia (can't remember what town). I think he was going to do about the same sort of stuff - although minus singing and hopefully not giving out complicated names for the insects - I think he was going to tell a few jokes about dung beetles. :)

Abby said...

Common names are so variable anyway. We might call this a tube anemone, someone else will call it a burrowing anemone and Brazilians will have an entirely different name for it altogether. Basically, I don't see a problem with what you did.

What is the book you edited about? Plants, I assume, but is it a sit down and read book? Or a guide?