Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Beetle Book

The Beetle Book
By Steve Jenkins
Houghton Mifflin, 2012.

     When British geneticist J. B. S. Haldane was asked what "one could conclude as to the nature of the Creator from a study of the creation" he replied that "it would appear that God has an inordinate fondness for beetles."  A similar fondness finds beautiful place in Steve Jenkins' new book where he creates an elegant display of a few of the over 400,000 species of beetles on the planet, which constitute at least 25% of all life forms. Delightfully rendered in his signature cut and torn paper collage, Jenkins' beetles range from the miniscule eggplant flea beetle to the titan beetle whose jaws are strong enough to snap a pencil in half. Jenkins also shows commonalities among the beetles, protective coloration, how they make noise, and how they protect themselves. Many of his beetles, as he explains, are pictured larger than life, but silhouettes throughout the book show the beetles' actual sizes. Both artistically and scientifically, Steve Jenkins' Beetle Book is a treasure, not only for young insect lovers but for their significant elders.

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