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The Beetle Book Hardcover – April 3, 2012
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"Jenkins' splendid array of beetles will surely produce at least one budding coleopterist...distinguished both as natural history and work of art"--Kirkus, starred review
"Jenkins brings his signature style to the world of beetles...As always, the design of the book is exemplary."--Horn Book
"A richly varied and visually riveting introduction to beetles, both familiar and strange."--Booklist, starred review
"Jenkins's enthusiasm for his subject shines through in this rich and varied compendium."--School Library Journal, starred review
"Jenkins offers a wealth of information about beetles and presents it impeccably."--Publishers Weekly, starred review
"The combination of sophisticated look and highly visual approach makes this accessible to a wide audience, and this is one that'll certainly be picked up immediately if left strategically on a library table."--Bulletin
Top Customer Reviews
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.
The book arrived in great condition.
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.