A Beetle Is Shy

by Dianna Hutts Aston

Hardcover, 2016



Local notes

E Ast




Chronicle Books (2016), 40 pages


"The award-winning duo of Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long team up again, this time creating a gorgeous look at the fascinating world of beetles. From flea beetles to bombardier beetles, an incredible variety of these beloved bugs are showcased here in all their splendor." --


Original language


Physical description

40 p.; 9.5 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member Lisa2013
I’ve yet to read A Nest Is Noisy (I expect it to be ready for pick up from the library when I go there this coming Tuesday) but I’ve read and loved 4 other books by this team: A Rock Is Lively, A Seed Is Sleepy, An Egg Is Quiet, and A Butterfly Is Patient.

I’m not wild about most insects and I
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wasn’t feeling particularly interested in beetles, but I’ve enjoyed other books in this series so much I want to read them all. And actually this probably was my least favorite book in the series so far. (I’m fairly sure that I’ll enjoy the Nest book better than I did this one.) I did learn a lot though and the art and amount of information provided is impressive.

Preschoolers and beginning elementary school students can probably enjoy the illustrations and the simple poem and captions, as a read aloud, although the vocabulary used is advanced. Older elementary school students can also enjoy the the much more detailed text information given on most pages of the book.

This book could be great for all genders, approximately ages 5-12, particularly for kids who are fascinated with insects or with nature in general.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Beetles, those little winged creatures who, with their approximately 400,000 known species, make up 40% of insects worldwide, and 25% of all known animal species, are the subject of this lovely picture book from Diana Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long, the author/illustrator team responsible for such
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titles as An Egg Is Quiet, A Seed Is Sleepy, A Butterfly Is Patient, A Rock Is Lively, and A Nest Is Noisy. As with those earlier books, here there is a dual format, with a poetic macro-narrative that gives general, descriptive information—"A beetle is shy. A beetle is kaleidoscopic. A beetle is colossal... or microscopic"—and a micro-narrative that imparts more details. Topics touched upon include the beetle's life genesis from egg to fully-formed insect, the varying sizes of beetles, where in the world they can be found (all over!), their activities, forms of self-defense, and lots more...

As with its predecessors, I greatly enjoyed A Beetle Is Shy, appreciating its dual narrative approach, which I think makes the subject accessible to children at a variety of stages, drawing them in with the more poetic narrative and then giving them more information. As always with this series of books, I also loved the accompanying watercolor artwork, with its beautifully vivid color palette, and its many charming little details. The decorative first and last pages here (not the endpapers, which might be covered up by taped-down dust-jackets in library copies) were as lovely as ever, depicting a variety of beetle species. All that being said, I couldn't help but feel, as I finished the book, that it didn't quite live up to some of the earlier books from this team. It's somewhat shorter, and seems to cover less. It also struck me that some of the information one discovers later on in the book, such as what makes a beetle a beetle, distinguishing it from other kind of insects, might have been better placed toward the beginning of the book. Leaving that aside, this is still a beautiful and engaging book, one which could introduce young children to the wonders of the world's coleopteran species. It is for that purpose that I would recommend it, perhaps to be followed up by a title giving a more specific and comprehensive treatment to the topic.
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(20 ratings; 4.3)
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