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Beetlemania

A Beetle is Shy

Dianna Hutts Aston
Chronicle Books
2016
40 pp.
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Age Range: 5 – 8 years

Grade Level: Kindergarten – 3

A Beetle Is Shy introduces children to the staggering diversity of beetles, from common ladybugs to titan beetles to boll weevils. The book begins by explaining that a beetle is “shy” because of the way it enters the world— inside an egg case camouflaged under a leaf or tree root. A turn of the page reveals a basic diagram that chronicles the beetle’s transformation from egg to juvenile to full grown insect. The phrase “A beetle is…” begins nearly every page spread, followed by simple categorizations (e.g., “a digger,” “guarded,” “helpful,” and “tasty”). Readers are thus treated to charming descriptions of different traits exhibited by various beetle species. Young readers will be thrilled to discover that the pigweed flea beetle can hop up to 13 inches into the air or that the water-gliding rove beetle can “skate” along the surface of water. The vibrant, eye-catching illustrations are a highlight and will no doubt help to engage even those readers who may be a bit squeamish about bugs. This delightful book promotes a sense of wonder about a group of little creatures with whom we share this Earth and is an excellent choice for budding entomologists. It gently introduces some more advanced concepts, such as the use of pheromones and bioluminescence for beetle communication, so parents may find it helpful to read along with their children.