Creepiness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. What makes an insect, arachnid, reptile, amphibian, bird, or other creature “creepy?” If could be their appearance, the way they move, the sound they emit, other creatures they devour, or even their role in folklore or phobia.

In this week’s Zoom presentation of the Harper Library Children’s Wildlife Series given by Miss Joy, we learned that creepiness is just one more “difference” that makes a creature special.

Before introducing her “live” guests to more than a dozen kids and another dozen adults online, Miss Joy shared some imagery of an owl that sounds like a monkey, a variety of amphibians, including cannibalistic bullfrogs and salamanders, and a curious acid-spraying “vinegaroon” scorpion.

Animal guests starring in the program included Leo, a leopard gecko (in picture, above), a Madagascar hissing cockroach, and Curly the tarantula, happily spinning away as Miss Joy displayed him–a born performer enjoying the limelight.

Interestingly, some of the creepy crawlies are among nature’s most useful and productive members of society, cleaning up after other animals, recycling animal and vegetable waste into soil, and ridding their surroundings of pests including mosquitoes.

It’s clear that Miss Joy loves sharing her animals and her extensive knowledge with the audience. The kids, for their part, asked very insightful questions, related personal experiences, and even offered some practical suggestions.

For those of you who have endured Zoom presentations where the host asked, “any questions?” only to face an eerie silence and viewers surreptitiously logging off, THIS is what’s SUPPOSED to happen.!

Keeping kids engaged in a world filled with distractions takes a special mix of content and delivery, and Miss Joy delivers. As we face an uncertain future due to the continuing threat of coronavirus, it’s great to see that Harper Library and FOLSOI continue to provide stimulating educational content.