Making the Cockroach Appealing: Is It Possible?

It’s not necessary to employ the words “creepy” or “crawly” or “crunchy” to make you shudder over this animal. The name is enough.


Cockroaches are infamous for their particular repulsiveness within the insect pool. Notoriously residing in kitchen cabinets or witnessed scuttling across a restaurant’s floor (and instantaneously ruining your dining experience), these widespread bugs are widely loathed.

But Ekaterina Smirnova, the author and illustrator of the new book An Illustrated Guide to Cockroaches, doesn’t want revulsion to hinder education about this incredibly adaptive, age-old insect.

In her guide, you will find anatomical descriptions of the international villain (it breathes through its skin, which is one reason it can live sans head for about a month), facts about its various talents (the American Cockroach can reach speeds of up to 37 miles per hour), a chronicle of how humans have tried to rid them from their human spaces (the Vegas Roach Trap), amongst many other enlightening sections.

While the interesting facts alone may not entice you, each section of the book contains crisp black, white, and red illustrations that make cockroaches less "yuck"-inducing. The pictures remove you from that time you saw a gigantic cockroach in a subway station, allowing you to see it as just another animal. One that can grow up to six centimeters, has six legs, and in one variety can hiss, that is.

The illustrated cockroaches even look cute. Well, you can judge for yourself.

Also, just in case you had the desire to investigate a sewer, a single manhole can hold a cockroach community amounting to more than 5,000 members.

If you’re not disgusted, Smirnova includes a recipe for cooking cockroach to perfection.

(Pages courtesy of Mark Batty Publisher)

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