Reviews

Book Review: The Wasp That Brainwashed The Caterpillar Is An Evolutionary Marvel

You may have heard of Matt Simon as the writer of the popular Wired series “Absurd Creature of the Week.”  Simon has garnered a cult-like following for showing that intelligence is fun and funny. He combines nerdy facts on the many, fantastical creatures that live in this world with a satirical wit that bites you with intrigue. Whether you are an environmental nerd, a humorist, or none of the above, after reading Matt Simon’s The Wasp That Brainwashed The Caterpillar, you will be a Matt Simon fan. 

I find it befitting that The Wasp That Brainwashed The Caterpillar comes out a few weeks before the Harry Potter flick Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. This book will make readers feel like they are holding the diary of Newt Scamander, and keeping the details of the many creatures he encounters on his earthly path. Simon has a way of bringing out J.K. Rowling levels of magic from creatures like the “Zombie Ant” or the “Toadfish”. He makes them feel like they come from a different, distant planet, and details every single fascinating aspect of their existence with a brightness and humor that is infectious. If you are not environmentally conscious or knowledgeable, you will want to be out of the sheer reverence, love, and wisdom Matt Simon shares for the animals of this earth. Moreover, you will admire the resilience of a species to survive, and even question if humanity is doing half as much work as the “Mustache Toad” to live. 
Reading Matt Simon’s The Wasp That Brainwashed The Caterpillar, made me pensive over extinction and how much work, nowadays, goes into pushing an animal passed the point of no return. You may think this is an odd thought, but Simon beautifully and hilariously elaborates the lengths/methods animals will go to continue their lineage. In a world where even elephant numbers have dropped due to severe poaching, Simon will help readers realize how much of humanity’s systemic destruction has affected animal life by showing how much effort animals place in continuing their life. The conclusion is not one that is fraught throughout the book. Although it is clear that The Wasp That Brainwashed The Caterpillar is a love letter to earth and all the animals that course through it, Simon is not trying to make you an environmentalist or a Peta advocate, which is why this effect is inadvertent but palpable. 
Through literal illustrations and a vivid writing style, Matt Simon makes you want to gather every “Toadish”, “Water Bear”, and “Zombie Ant” on earth to protect them. Even deadly or dangerous animals like the “Asp Caterpillar” will make you want to cuddle with them or, at least, find them a gentle pillow where they can rest away from any habitat/human challengers. Frankly, I would recommend this book for anyone as it impresses and makes people laugh with unbelievable facts on evolution and the environment, of which we are in the perfect, social atmosphere for learning such matters thanks to sparking interests in Global Climate Change. Yet, I would mostly recommend this book for moms seeking to find a cool, educational book for their young teenagers/ adults. This book both teaches and inspires its readers to feel connected to the many, unique living things that share life with them. Click here to buy Matt Simon’s  The Wasp That Brainwashed The Caterpillar.