Local author Sue Heavenrich’s newest children’s book, 13 Ways to Eat a Fly, may sound like a recipe book, but it’s not. This reverse counting book is all about subtraction, as flies meet their demise.
The unfortunate insects are zapped, wrapped, and otherwise trapped. It may be gross, but the science is real. Artwork by David Clark combines the gruesome reality of predator / prey relationship with a comic touch.
The idea for the book came about by accident. “I was in a hurry and misread a book title on the shelf,” said Heavenrich. “I thought it said ‘how to eat a fly,’ so I jotted that down.”
Later she got to wonder, just how does one eat a fly? Being a biologist, she dug into research.
“I made a list of all the animals – birds, fish, insects, amphibians – that eat flies,” said Heavenrich.
She made another list of flies: crane flies, long-legged flies, mosquitoes, cluster flies – so many kinds! Then she began pairing flies with the animals – and plants – that ate them.
Then she added some special-interest features for the back of the book.
She noted, “I’d been listening to a radio program about local food, and how people would ask their waiter where their chicken was raised. So I wrote a tongue-in-cheek guide to eating bugs, complete with nutritional information for a single serving of flies.”
Sue Heavenrich is a passionate insect-watcher. She has done research on ants, bees, and spiders, and taught cockroaches how to run mazes. After earning her master’s degree in biology and teaching high-school science, she began writing about science and nature in magazines, newspapers, and blogs. She is the author of several books, including Diet for a Changing Planet: Food for Thought (which does include recipes for insects). She has eaten flies – small ones, and mostly by accident.
13 Ways to Eat a Fly released on Feb. 16. You may order an autographed copy through Riverow Bookshop in Owego on their website (www.riverow.com) or by calling (607) 687-4094. Riverow Bookshop plans to hold an author event in the future.