Working in Entomology

Working in EntomologyRachel McLeod

Amateur Entomologists' Society, £10.48

Not many books are written by 14 year olds, especially not ones based on research conducted when the author was between 8 and 10 years old. I once met Rachel while undertaking a Bug Safari at her primary school and she stood out as exceptionally keen then – and obviously still is, having set out to produce a career guide to encourage other keen young people to consider working with insects.

The core of the book is a series of standardised interviews with prominent entomologists covering different aspects of entomology. The questions are highly incisive – including "What is the most important question I should have asked you?" – and she finishes by interviewing herself and answering her own questions.

For example, Simon Leather kicks off with a personal account of his career path, starting at age three, illustrating how a child's natural interest in insects can develop into a lifelong career. George McGavin gives us an academic turned TV expeditionist's perspective, while others cover genetic engineering, forensics, evolution, behaviour, pest control and entomological supplies. The author finishes with her personal thoughts on what it is to be an entomologist, and a brief section on insects and conservation.

Aimed predominantly at other youngsters who she is out to inspire, this is also useful reading for the parent of young "bug-aholics" who will be reassured that their offspring's enthusiasm might lead them to a fascinating career. As Sir David Attenborough says in his preface: "It is a fascinating read."

Roger S Key