I’m a Pill Bug: Get to know these tiny, cute crustaceans.

I’m a Pill BugCoCo5

Non-Fiction Picture Book

Ages 2 to 6

Written by Yukihisa Tokuda

Illustrated by Kiyoshi Takahashi

28 pages




When I was a child, like many children, I enjoyed playing with bugs. Pill bugs (also known as roly-polies or potato bugs) were always easy to find: all I needed to do was lift a rock or a piece of wood. The small, gray, harmless creatures were ubiquitous and, when touched, would curl up into perfect little balls. Despite all my experience with theses tiny guys, I’m A Pill Bug taught me many fascinating things.

Realistically illustrated in cut paper collage, this non-fiction book follows the life of a pill bug, as narrated by a pill bug.


Using simple and clear language this book offers a wealth of information regarding the life and habitat of these mini crustaceans. They are not insects, as readers will learn: pill bugs are related to crabs and shrimp.


Young listeners will also learn what pill bugs eat: basically everything, including dead plants, dead leaves, newspapers and cardboard. With all that eating, these bugs also do a lot of pooping. Some youngsters (some adults too) may be amused to learn that a pill bug’s poop is square; some may also take pleasure in pointing out those telltale square specks throughout the pages of the book. 


In addition to all the decaying organic matter, pill bugs also need to eat stones and concrete to aid in their digestion. That’s why they live near people, and their concrete walls and buildings.

To defend themselves against ants, pill bugs roll themselves into a ball—hence the common nickname, roly poly. Pill bugs also shed their shells many times as they grow. First they shed the rear half; the next day they shed the front half. And at the end of fall, when it starts to get cold, they dig deep down in the ground and sleep until spring.

In addition to all this information, the last three pages offer instructions on how to hold a pill bug and even safely keep one as a guest in your home.


But remember to return him to the outdoors before fall, “He’ll want to be with his family during the cold winter!”

These little creatures, everywhere under our feet, are introduced to readers in this simple yet fully informative book.  Not only do we learn that they’re helpful, they turn out to be lovable too!

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13 Responses so far

  1. 1

    In Australia we call them slaters… I love this book! Thank you for putting it up on your blog 🙂

  2. 2

    kimsimard said,

    This is really cute. We used to call these potato bugs. 🙂

  3. 4

    Alfonso Baronso said,

    In the UK we call them Woodlice. I’ve never heard them called pill bugs before.

    • 5

      When I did some research for this review, I discovered all sorts of names for them! What we call a wood louse in the US cannot curl up into a ball, but shares many other characteristics with pill bugs.

  4. 6

    I loved pill bugs when I was a kid! And we had so many in WA where I grew up, but there are not so many here in AZ.
    While I was reading your post, my toddler ran up, looked at the pictures, and said, “Ew! Bug!” I think I will have to track this one down and add it to her library.

  5. 7

    killkaties said,

    Lovely! I remember seeing some beautiful insect drawings by Kiyoshi Takahashi many years ago but these are beautiful in their simplicity. Here in the UK the pill bug goes by the. Name of wood louse. I hadn’t realised that until reading your post.

  6. 8

    If only this book was out when I was a kid..! Even people i know now in their 30s have no idea what a pillbug really is.

  7. 9

    I love this! It would be a perfect addition to a gardening theme. Thanks for sharing!

  8. 10

    Gallivanta said,

    Excellent! I have a new respect for pill bugs.

  9. 12

    bhanu said,

    Love the illustrations and I want to get this book for me (forget the kids :)) I always hated these lil’ creatures & maybe this book will teach me to respect the little bugs …

  10. 13

    inotherwords910 said,

    This is such an adorable little bug book. Informational and cute. Thanks for showing this to us. 🙂

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