R. E. Snodgrass published his reference book, The Principles of Insect Morphology in 1935. Reference books are a means to catalog information for use by scientists and students. They are not meant to be read cover to cover and do not tell a story in sequence. Readers are expected to skip over parts that are personally less interesting and go directly to the passages that contain relevant information. Reference books are valuable but serve a limited audience.
Snodgrass wanted to share his knowledge and love of insects with youth. In 1930, he first published Insects: Their Way and Means of Living. The book became popular and was reprinted by the Smithsonian in 1934. The book consists of information about insects (especially morphology) told as a series of vignettes. This style of writing about insects and nature was grist for the printing presses and the pubic fondness of beastiaries. The Book of Insects written by Jean Henri Fabre in the 1800s had large popular demand and was translated into many languages. Snodgrass, who was trained in illustration, added his own drawings to enhance the reader’s understanding. His book is still in print today including a Kindle version