on August 6, 2013
We loved this book! My children are 5 and 7 (boy and girl) and the drawings of beetles are beautiful and interesting. They enjoyed identifying the names and looking at the differences. I would recommend this book for any home library or educator teaching about beetles.
IF you have a child(ren) interested in insects, then you definitely need to check out THE BEETLE BOOK.
Bright and colorful, Steve Jenkins has pulled together a great science book that gives all sorts of facts about beetles in a manner that's entertaining, and not overwhelming.
Jenkins uses illustrations in this book instead of photos. And most of the images of the huge variety of beetles that he introduces the reader to, are double in size.
Jenkins displays the various shapes and colors that beetles can have.
He also talks about their numbers, their body parts, their many abilities --like waging chemical warfare-- and facts about their senses, mating habits and more.
Truly there's a great deal of easily digested information in this book.
Overall I really like it. It's great edu-tainment and would be good for a classroom situation because the drawing are large.
Those that are looking for photos will have to look elsewhere. And I actually understand why Jenkins didn't go that route. There are so many beetles that in fact, seeing many of them 'in a photo', doesn't really help identify them. And as the book stands now, the artwork is exceedingly attractive and keeps the reader turning pages to see what's next.
The biggest drawback in my mind, is that the book is written at nearly the 6th grade level.
on October 2, 2013
I appreciate that the illustration of bugs are hand painted works in stead of photographs. Inspiring for kids of going outside and looking for there beautiful creatures, then create your own art work of drawing them.
The book arrived in great condition.
I knew a guy in Los Angeles who created original artwork using photographs of beetles. They were really gorgeous, so it's no surprise to me that the beetle art in Jenkins' latest nature book is, too. The cover alone is worth the price of admission!
I will admit I was a little put off when I first opened the book and saw how small the font size is, but I quickly got used to it and realized that its size means the text doesn't compete with the illustrations. Beetle names are in boldface in the text, which is helpful. Another nice touch is that the author-illustrator gives us many of the beetles in black silhouette to show their actual sizes.
Jenkins lets the stark white backgrounds set off the beetles' strong colors and shapes, taking full advantage of negative space and the beetles' symmetry to create graphic art-influenced illustrations. Many of the beetles are static, portrait-style, but some are shown in action, most notably two rhinoceros beetles dueling to win a mate. The illustrations are all the more breathtaking when you realize that they were done entirely using "torn- and cut-paper collage." Jenkins has joined the rarified ranks of Eric Carle and Lois Ehlert in his use of the technique.
The science content may remind you of an Eyewitness book. The Beetle Book is filled with fun facts. For example, have you ever heard of the forest fire beetle? "[It] has special heat-sensing spots on its body. It can detect a fire from more than 20 miles (32 kilometers) away. These beetles fly to the site of the forest fire and lay their eggs in charred wood--wood that is now free of predators." I thought he was going to say the beetles sensed the fire and flew away from it, but instead the beetles fly to the fire!
Stinky beetles, shiny beetles, poisonous beetles (if you eat them!) and camouflaged beetles--Jenkins introduces readers to a colorful cast of characters. One of my favorites is an Australian beetle called Wallace's longicorn, which has a body that's not quite 4 inches long and antennae that can reach 15 inches or so in length.
I'll just end with one final fact, Jenkins' opening sentence: "Line up every kind of plant and animal on Earth... and one of every four will be a beetle." So yes, we're outnumbered. But if you've got a budding scientist on your hands, get him or her The Beetle Book.
on November 18, 2012
If you don't know much about beetles, you will after reading this book, regardless of your age. The most remarkable facts, with wonderful illustrations, torn- and cut-paper collages created by the author (colorful, clear, even beautiful; the reader views an enlarged version of the beetles, as well as life-size).
Steve Jenkins does not talk down to children, nor does he speak up to adults. He writes in a forthright, intelligent and simple manner that should appeal to all ages, I would say beginning from the age of four (I cannot put an age cap on this book since it can be equally enjoyed by all). It's an interesting size - not too large and not too small (my measurements are circa 10-1/4" by 10-1/4").
I got curious about beetles when I saw one in my kitchen. I've always taken them for granted as disposable (I don't like to kill lone insects so I usually find a way to transport them outdoors). But this time I said "Wait! What is the story of this beetle? What it is really like? What is the history of the species?" And that's what led me to read this book. After reading it, I have a tremendous respect for a beetle when I see one. Truly amazing facts are presented. For instance, there are more than 350,000 kinds of beetles that have been named. Many more are discovered each year.
Some topics covered are the construction of the beetle, their senses, their habits, even how they grow up. What do they eat? It depends on the type of beetle. Some are plant eaters, some carry on their backs and eat dung, cleaning up the world's grasslands to provide food for their families. There are beetles that live off fungi; some are hunters and scavengers.
These facts don't even begin to cover the abundance of astounding information provided. A lot of care went into the execution of this book. The artwork is beautiful. I do think that the cover design itself could be improved upon. I would like to see more detail on the front of the book, and less detail on the back of it so that the lovely illustrations could have been more imaginatively placed, not just horizontally and vertically.
But that is just nitpicking what is to me the most impressive book for children about natural life since reading the works of Melvin Berger, whom I consider to be the finest author in this genre to date. I believe this book should be in every child's library. It is that important a contribution.
on September 16, 2014
Pictures are very stunning. But text are the best of this book. We (me and my 6 y twin love every details about beetle in this book, very interesting. Ex: Ironclad beetle looks like a bird's dropping to fool the predator. You must read it. I think 3 years old up can read this book for fun,too.
on April 27, 2013
I bought this for my 7 year old nephew, he has been in love with bugs since he was born. I wanted something not only with great imaging, but with details and descriptions. Its perfect. He can't read yet, but this way, when he can he will still love the book!
on March 29, 2013
If you have a child that is very into nature and loves to learn every little detail, this book is perfect. My three year old son has memorized every kind of beetle in the book and spends lots of time sitting and looking through the pages.
on July 11, 2013
I purchased this book for my six year old grandson - he loved it, especially the pictures of all the different beetles.
"The Beetle Book"
Written & Illustrated by Steve Jenkins
(Houghton Mifflin, 2012)
This is another excellent, first-class science book from author-illustrator Steve Jenkins, one of the finest talents working in kids nonfiction today. Beautifully illustrated in a combination painting/collage style, with imaginative layout, gorgeous colors and a dynamic use of negative (blank) space, this book introduces us to the world of beetles, one of the most widespread and varied animal lifeforms on Earth. Each page provides quick nuggets of information about several kinds of beetles, often grouped by a common characteristic -- poisonous beetles, camouflaged beetles, etc -- and the writing is clear, direct and delightful. This is the kind of book that a kid could live with for a long time, delighting in and memorizing the bright, vivid illustrations and reading over and over. Most surprising fact I got out of this one? That out of every kind of animal or plant species on Earth, one out of FOUR is a beetle! Wow! Guess they're pretty successful! And so is this book... Highly recommended! (DJ Joe Sixpack, ReadThatAgain childrens book reviews)