Synopses & Reviews
Beetles squeak and beetles glow. Beetles stink, beetles sprint, beetles walk on water. With legs, antennae, horns, beautiful shells, knobs, and other odditiesand#8212;whatand#8217;s not to like about beetles? The beetle world is vast: one out of every four living things on earth is a beetle. There are over 350,000 different species named so far and scientists suspect there may be as many as a million. From the goliath beetle that weighs one fourth of a pound to the nine inch long titan beetle, award-winning author-illustrator Steve Jenkins presents a fascinating array of these intriguing insects and the many amazing adaptations they have made to survive.
"Beetles come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, and Fleming (In the Small, Small Pond) gives an exuberant shout-out to a slew of them in this eye-catching catalogue of backyard nature. Befitting the books title, Flemings verse dances across the pages Brown beetles, /green beetles, /not-often-seen beetles accented by changing font, color, and even direction in the layout of text. But young readers will especially want to pore over her bursting-with-color, dyed-paper-pulp compositions. As they do, they will glean information about beetle behavior (crashing into porch lightbulbs, gnawing on leaves or bark) and the beetles place in the larger food chain (being lapped up by a salamanders tongue or snatched in a birds beak). Part boisterous read-aloud, part field guide for entomology enthusiasts, this arresting volume has something for everybuggy. Ages 3-7." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"'Beetles come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, and Fleming (In the Small, Small Pond) gives an exuberant shout-out to a slew of them in this eye-catching catalogue of backyard nature. Befitting the book's title, Fleming's verse dances across the pages 'Brown beetles,/green beetles,/not-often-seen beetles' accented by changing font, color, and even direction in the layout of text. But young readers will especially want to pore over her bursting-with-color, dyed-paper-pulp compositions. As they do, they will glean information about beetle behavior (crashing into porch lightbulbs, gnawing on leaves or bark) and the beetle's place in the larger food chain (being lapped up by a salamander's tongue or snatched in a bird's beak). Part boisterous read-aloud, part field guide for entomology enthusiasts, this arresting volume has something for everybuggy. Ages 3-7.' Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)"
"The type design and placement of the text are an integral part of the lush illustrations, and the balance between fun and fact will awaken youngsters' curiosity. This perfect mix of art, science, and rhyme." School Library Journal
They crawl up walls, they hide in cracks, they flip, they fly, and sometimes...crrrash. Beetles come in all shapes and sizes, and they are everywhere in this thoroughly buggy, beautifully designed book.
There are striped beetles, spotted beetles, all-over-dotted beetles and don't forget the noisily gnawing beetles! Whether you love bugs or whether the sight of them makes you itch, you'll adore this infested offering from the beloved Denise Fleming.
Crawling with beautiful beetles, this is a spectacular celebration of bugs by a Caldecott Honor winner
Caldecott Honorand#8211;winning author-illustrator Steve Jenkins explores form, color, and pattern, and captures the very unique nature of beetles in this brilliantly illustrated picture book.
About the Author
Denise Fleming is the creator of the acclaimed In the Small, Small Pond, a Caldecott Honor Book and an ALA Notable Children's Book. She lives in Ohio.
Interview with Denise Fleming, author of Beetle Bop
Q: You have a unique approach to book production: You make your own paper and use hand-cut stencils to create the illustrations. What inspired you to handcraft your books? Can you share the details of the papermaking process with us?
A: I can create texture and a sense of dimension in my art that would be difficult to get in any other medium. I feel this makes the art more "alive." The paper and picture are created at the same time by pulp painting, a papermaking technique. I pour a layer of cotton fiber floating in water onto a screen. The water drains through the screen, but the fiber stays on top; this is my base layer. I create the picture by using fiber that I have dyed brilliant colors, squeeze bottles, and stencils. I work wet on wet. When I am happy with the picture, I flip the paper/picture off the screen. I then dry the paper using a vacuum table and drying press.
Q: Beetle Bop features many types of beetles. How much did you know about these insects before you started working on the book? Also and, be honest do you like beetles, or do they give you the creeps?
A: Ive always liked insects. As a child I had two favorite beetles: ladybugs, because they are so cheerful looking, and fireflies, because they are magical. I dont use pesticides when I garden, so I am very familiar with beetles. Although some beetles are pests and not that welcome in my gardens, all beetles are beautiful. If you look closely at beetles, they are tiny abstract paintings. (Try using a magnifying glass to see all their details.) Metallic-colored beetles are particularly handsome. I researched beetles before I started the book, but I never intended for Beetle Bop to be a guidebook. Pulp painting is a loose, spontaneous medium and does not lend itself to the realistic representations a beetle guide would require.
Q: You seem to really appreciate language, and have a tendency to use rhyming or action-oriented words in your books. Why do you favor minimal text to accompany your vibrant illustrations?
A: I love language. I try to make texts that create a joyful feeling when read. It is important to me to use the fewest words possible to create the most impact. There are the words printed on the page and there are the words that the pictures convey.
Q: Youve been an artist since you were a young girl. Were you encouraged by your family to express yourself creatively? Do you hope that kids who read your books will be encouraged to follow their own artistic desires?
A: My parents and grandparents all encouraged creativity, and were creative in their own way. My mother and father were active in local theater. My dad built furniture. My mother was an amazing decorator of our home and for a brief period of time wrote a weekly column for a small local newspaper. My (maternal) grandma could look at a picture of a dress and could make itwithout a pattern. My other grandmother won awards for her flower arrangements and was ahead of her time in landscape design. Of course, as a child I took all their talents for granted; it was just what they did. I hope everyone who reads my books will be encouraged to follow their artistic desire, whether its sewing, landscape design, writing, cooking, building things, painting, drawing....
Q: Your husband is also an artist and contributes to the design of your books, and he and your daughter both work on your Web site, www.denisefleming.com. Do you find that collaborating with the people who you are close to brings new life and perspective to your projects?
A: The advantage of working with David and Indigo is that they are so familiar with how I think; they know the right questions to ask to help me solve any problems I have with text or art. And of course, I can wake David up in the middle of the night to run an idea by him.
Q: We understand that you like animals. How many pets do you have?
A: Currently in residence: eight cats, one dog (a nineteen-pound Yorkie), two birds (a parakeet and a cockatiel), and a pondful of fish. I am also grandma (part owner with Indigo) of a two-year-old horse. Oh, I cant forget Boris, a huge wolf spider that lives in the pocket door in Davids office.
Q: What other projects do you have on the horizon? Are you planning any more books about bugs?
A: No more bugs for the time being. I am going to go in a bigger direction dinosaurs!
Copyright © 2007 Harcourt
Questions written by Roseleigh Navarre