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Clan Apis Paperback – January 1, 2000
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Gr. 5-7. The life cycle and natural environment of the honeybee become grist for an entomologist who is both cartoonist and storyteller. Opening with a creation myth ("Once upon a long, long time ago") and working through the biological, sociological, and ecological changes affecting the life of Nyuki the bee, the text is a combination of authoritative science; appealing, detailed black-and-white drawings; and dialogue replete with humor, pubescent angst, political sloganeering, and more. Nyuki's colony undertakes migration to a new hive, is beset by a woodpecker, and hibernates through a winter that yields to a revitalizing spring. The bees are nicely individualized, as are the plants and other insects that figure into their lives, and there are a number of clever touches. All in all, this is the sort of science book that even devoted fiction and comics readers will enjoy. Francisca Goldsmith
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Dr. Jay Hosler is an Associate Professor of Biology at Juniata College and an award-winning cartoonist who writes and draws comic books about biology and natural history. His work has been called "ingenious" (The London Times), "goofily inventive" (The New York Times), and "entertaining and slyly educational" (The Comics Journal). His works include Active Synapse classics such as Clan Apis, The Sandwalk Adventures, and Optical Allusions. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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As we follow her daily excursions, we are also inhaling the complicated information of a bee colony. Learning is fun and painless. Images are simple, but elegant in an artistic style that is well-matched with the text.
Bees need our attention and this book is one of the easiest ways to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of bees for our crops and therefore our survival. You will want to know more about bees and social insects when you finish. Ideal source material for reading classes, early biology, and social science, not to mention the art of creating a graphic novel.
While the relationship between humans and honeybees has existed for thousands of years, it is safe to say that the relationship between honeybees and flowers has existed since the dawn of the honeybee in sub-Saharan Africa millions of years ago . As beekeepers, it is easy to forget this link between flora and fauna as we fuss with our own hive management strategies. Thankfully, Hosler does an excellent job of bringing the evolutionary context to the fore, with an opening vignette of the creation of the universe from the honeybee's perspective--all beginning from the mother flower.
The book opens with a telling of the tale of the mother flower to the larval Nyuki*, by her sister, Dvorah.* This sets the stage for the two storylines that Hosler seamlessly interweaves through the book. The first is a story of Nyuki, a honeybee who refuses to take anything about life for granted, and her relationship to her older, wiser sister. Nyuki's life takes on familiar twists and turns that serve as a learning basis for children and a captivating story for adults. The other is more didactic; Hosler carefully plants basic facts about honey bee biology and ecology as carefully chosen lines in the story and clever images in the drawings. Like the best children's books, Clan Apis poignantly addresses some very sophisticated themes--the existence of a creator, the painful processes of adolescence, and even the inevitability of the end of life. And like the best adult books, it's informative and compelling; it stays with you long after you've turned the final page.
We offer just one warning to readers: This exceptional book can easily be devoured in a sitting, but it shouldn't be. Savor each page and Hosler's wonderful displays of skill and artistry. We are sure that at you will regret the turning of the last page, and hope that Hosler will continue to educate and entertain us with more bee adventures as much as we do.
Anyone who is a beekeeper (as I am) will ESPECIALLY enjoy this book and will want to share it with his friends and family. It is rare in that I think it would appeal equally to young children, teens and adults.
How could an entomologist produce a book that works on so many levels? It is a very well-drawn graphic novel - not at all amateurish. It is great story-telling. The characters are wonderful and the story is compelling enough that at one point it brought tears to my eyes - yes, tears about a fictional honeybee - and I'm a reasonably sensible adult. The rich picture of hive life is much more accurate than is typical in NON-fiction books aimed at children. (OK, bees don't talk, larva don't have cute, toothy grins, etc. but everyone knows that.) The book is also wonderfully philosophical. And at the end there is a non-fiction epilogue about the author's experience dealing with anaphylactic allergy to bee-stings which is hilarious. The author has a great sense of humor, mature cartooning style, a natural gift for storytelling, is very witty, and has a scientist's understanding of the subject.
Oh, and a clever touch - The names of the bee characters in the story are words for "bee" in various languages.
This is a fun and wonderful book for anyone interested in bees.
Upon first look I had to agree about the art, and as I read it I joined him in the story department as well.
Once you get used to the concept of anthropomorphic hymenoptera, the tale unfolds with an older bee passing on lore to a larva. There is a lot of pure science in here, and no better way for kids to learn all those facts about our hive dwelling friends than in the framework of a tale. There is plenty of humor and we get to meet some other insects, arachnids, and various other creatures who interact with bees, and even the flowers can talk here!
My first copy got glommed by a bee friend and passed around to all her bee keeper friends until it was dog eared and so I bought a pristine copy to keep for myself. The bee keepers loved it too.
My favorite part is not the science, but the author's postulation of what bee philosophy and theosophy would be, their worldview based on their short lives, but the importance of the continuation of the hive at all costs.
For comic lovers, bee lovers, and people who just enjoy a good story.