The Beetle Book / written & illustrated by Steve Jenkins.

 

Houghton Mifflin, 9780547680842

Grades 2-6 (all ages)         Rating: 5

The Beetle Book introduces many varieties of beetles and how they grow, move, live, fight, and communicate. Author/illustrator Steve Jenkins uses his signature cut and torn paper collage technique for which The Beetle Book was deemed a New York Times “Best Illustrated Book of the Year”.

Young readers who are already interested in these insects will find the pages rich with amazing facts and descriptions. Over 75 types of beetles are presented, with fitting common names that kids will relish (“stink beetle”, “dung beetle”, “pleasing fungus beetle”). Endnotes include the Latin name and location of each insect, along with a brief bibliography. There are so many fascinating details in this large picture book that even bug-squeamish readers will be captivated. The oversized color artwork smartly contrasts with the actual-size black silhouettes throughout the book, though some readers may have difficulty with the small font. There is mention of beetles existing 230 million years ago along with dinosaurs, and passing references to mating behavior.

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