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ereksonj

ereksonj

The Beetle Book - Steve Jenkins Some things about this book bothered me at first look, but a full reading brought me back around.

1. In my experience kids prefer 'fact books' with photographs or photorealism. So the paper cutouts are extremely beautiful, but I wonder whether children would be constantly wondering what a 'real' beetle looks like. However, because of the subject matter the torn and cut paper almost feels photorealistic. My concerns diminished the longer I looked at the book.

2. The standardized format of each page, the presentation of information, made me worry about getting bored with so many beetles. But on closer reading, each of the double page spreads reads more like a 'chapter' than just a discrete treatment of different kinds of beetles. For example, there is a whole spread dedicated to beetles that hunt and scavenge and another for how beetles grow and develop from egg to adult. Each of these topical sub-sections gave Jenkins a chance to feature new beetles on each spread--a monumental amount of work! The informational design was phenomenal--although I would have liked to see some variety in sizes of print to guide readers to the topic text, with smaller text for each of the featured beetles. I loved that there was an 'actual size' scale on each spread--whoa! check out the Fijian long-horn beetle on page 20. [Yes, the pages are actually numbered in this picture book--we'll be seeing a lot more of these features in picturebooks as the market shifts toward informational text along with CCSS.]

I can see using this book in an inquiry study on insects to help specific students get depth for the beetle. But honestly, it's a beautiful book. Nancy said it would make a good coffee table book.

Jenkins appears to be the graphic designer, or at least no other credit is given.