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Children's Nonfiction Insects, Spiders, Etc.

Focus on Flies

by (author) Norma Dixon

Fitzhenry and Whiteside
Initial publish date
Nov 2008
Insects, Spiders, etc.
Recommended Age
8 to 12
Recommended Grade
3 to 4
Recommended Reading age
8 to 12
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2008
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2009
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2009
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


It's hard to like a house fly. It buzzes around your ears, lands on your dirty dog, and then heads for your lunch. The feet of the fly that settle on your lunch are covered with hordes of bacteria carried from all its landing spots in the neighborhood. And that could be a garbage dump or a dead squirrel."

The house fly shares horrible habits with thousands of other two-winged insects that belong to the family of true flies. Gnats and midges are members of the family, and so are black flies, horse flies, African tsetse flies, and mosquitoes. This is the most despised and dangerous family in the animal kingdom. Around the world, about two million people a year die from diseases spread by flies and mosquitoes.

Despite its horrible habits, the house fly is an astonishing creature. It has survived for millions of years, outlived the fiercest dinosaurs, and has adapted to life in almost every habitat on Earth. With its huge compound eyes, the house fly sees everywhere at once. And with its ability to fly, flip over, and then walk upside down, it escapes even the craftiest predators.

Filled with fascinating facts, essential information, engaging activities, and full-colour photographs and illustrations, Focus on Flies takes readers inside the world of the house fly.

  • Learn how to classify a fly and how its body parts work.
  • Make a foolproof fly catcher and watch metamorphosis from egg to adult.
  • Follow the flight of a fly through your neighbourhood.
  • Find out about the Pharoah's flies in Ancient Egypt.
  • Discover the ins and outs of Robofly, the spying robot built like a housefly.

About the author

Norma Dixon
is the author of Lowdown On Earthworms and Focus on Flies. Norma has worked as an ad writer and a school programs guide at the Vancouver Museum and the VanDusen Botanical Gardens. She lives in Vancouver.

Norma Dixon's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Facts and visuals are well laid out with plenty of color and bold headings. . . The book is fact-packed and informative and meets its objective. Kids looking for easy to access information will find it appealing. It appears to be the second title in a series (Focus on Flies, Lowdown on Earthworms). Hopefully more will follow.
Highly Recommended."
CM Magazine

"Dixon has been a museum guide, and her chatty, informative title, illustrated with many clear color photos and diagrams, will hook readers with its fascinating view of a fly's 'creepy cool world'."

"This book offers considerable information about this homely insect and its role in the ecosystem. A useful addition for collections needing new or additional material."
School Library Journal

"Dixon's book offers about four positive reasons for the existence of flies�information is presented in a very no-nonsense format, with numerous full-colour illustrations and a few photographs�.This should please teachers and parents."
Quill & Quire

"A fascinating, scientific book covering everything from fly anatomy and behavior to fly habits and life cycles, and even touching on mosquitos, Focus on Flies is an excellent addition to any nonfiction children's library."
The Midwest Book Review

"This non-fiction book has eight 2 to 4-page chapters which are full of great illustrations and pictures; boys, in particular would love them! . . Each chapter in this book could provide a teacher with a science lesson and since everyone has seen flies it would certainly generate a lot of conversation.
Resource Links

Librarian Reviews

Focus on Flies

Budding entomologists get a sneak peek into the world of flies. They explore the anatomy, behaviour, locomotion, types and classes, habitats and life cycle of these insects. Experiments and activities provide up-close exposure of the pesky but useful two-winged flyers. Includes colour photos, a glossary, a bibliography and an index.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2010.

Other titles by Norma Dixon