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The Beetle Book

Last updated Friday, April 5, 2013

Author: Steve Jenkins
Illustrator: Steve Jenkins
Date of Publication: 2012
ISBN: 0547680848
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Apr. 2013

Synopsis: From Booklist:
*Starred Review* Through striking illustrations and intriguing information, this large-format book introduces the world of beetles. The text opens with the startling information that one quarter of every kind of plant and animal on Earth is a beetle. After an overview of body structure, sections are devoted to topics such as beetles senses, behaviors, life cycles, communications, and defenses. The fully illustrated format will appeal to a younger audience, but the book is better suited to children who are already familiar with words such as toxin or pupa. Well regarded for his collages of cut and torn papers, Jenkins is in top form in these illustrations, offering intricate, precise images of beetles isolated on broad white pages. The pictures combine clarity of form with subtlety of texture and color. A typical double-page spread features several large-scale individual pictures with small-type paragraphs of information appearing alongside them. At the bottom of some pages, black silhouettes show the actual sizes of beetles pictured above. While the book lacks such traditional back matter as a glossary, source notes, and bibliographies, it includes a list of each species mentioned, its Latin name, and its locale. A richly varied and visually riveting introduction to beetles, both familiar and strange.

Note to readers:
•  The book is full of interesting facts-- but don't let the facts overwhelm you or the students! The paragraph summary provided on each page is a good place to start, then discuss the various facts provided on the page

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever seen a beetle? Where?
•  Are there other insects that interest you? Which ones?

•  Depending on the pages you choose to spend time on, vocabulary will vary. Readers should review the book during morning prep time and pick vocabulary words to focus on

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Would you like to keep a beetle as a pet? Why or why not?
•  How can scientists, artists, and others get ideas from beetles?
•  What was your favorite beetle in the book? Why?

Craft ideas:
•  Design your own beetle and cut out parts and put them together-- page 7 lists the various parts of beetles. Use striking colors and designs. Have the students explain what their beetles do.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!