Described by the author himself as a cornucopia of discordant nonsense, this ton of limericks offers an alternative introduction to a wide range of invertebrates, some of which are common in the UK countryside, while others are tropical exotics. While sceptics may have thought that the limerick was a restricting format in which to offer an insight into the lives of insects, Richard Jones has proven them very wrong.The limericks present a snapshot of an aspect of each insect’s biology. They are a snippet of information, a tantalising glimpse of a much bigger picture, a lure for the curious that can be initially satisfied by the accompanying notes, which offer a concise overview of each invertebrate that has been limerickised. But they are also a lure that will ultimately lead curious minds to dip into the internet in search of more information.
The limericks range from out and out funny to downright clever, while some are definitely Christmas cracker groans, but this diversity of polish is all part of the fun that is the real hallmark of this book. The single line drawings add to the quirky nature of the book, providing instantly recognisable images of each of Richard’s muses. They offer a relaxed view of the characters described in rhyme, an economy of line that complements an economy of verse.
A Natural History of Insect in 100 Limericks will make you smile, and will certainly inform everyone who reads it to greater or lesser degrees. It is a great post-pandemic tonic for entomologists and natural historians alike but will also be a wonderful new tool for all those who engage in outreach activities. Read it out loud and smile.