Thursday, May 2, 2019

Brilliant Beetles by Melissa Higgins

Smithsonian Little Explorer is a Pebble book, one of Capstone's imprints. I don't like the "regular" Pebble books, because I just feel that there's so much white space I'm wasting money on the expensive library bound editions. I mean, I know it's not like you pay for it by word but somehow it just seems odd to me.

Anyways, this series has a lot more text. If you're going to get buggy, beetles are the way to go. Then again, dragonflies are really cool too... generally I'm fine with bugs as long as they're not cockroaches or have too many legs, like house centipedes. Anyways. The book starts with a basic description of beetles and then devotes a page to each of several types of beetles; weevils, bombardier beetles, water beetles, skin beetles, etc. Each page is paired with a photograph of a beetle and some additional facts. There is a brief glossary, link to Capstone's website, a few titles for further reading, and an index. This is a 4D book, so readers who have downloaded the app scan purple stars for additional information. There are 3 stars that I saw.

One the one hand, this book is at a good level for readers who are transitioning from easy readers to chapter books. It's right between a 2nd and 3rd grade reading level, 540 for those of you who use lexiles, and has short sentences that will help readers make it through some of the more difficult vocabulary. On the other hand, I was disappointed that none of the beetles were identified. Presumably, the ones on the pages of specific beetles, ladybugs, etc., are from that group but there's no way to tell exactly what beetle you're looking at. I don't normally spend money for library bound books in the easy reader section, but I think this would more properly be shelved in the juvenile nonfiction.

Verdict: If you normally purchase library bound nonfiction for your easy readers and have higher level titles there, this is a reasonable addition. However, the lack of captions for the specific beetles makes this a secondary choice for me, since I'd be putting it in juvenile nonfiction where I place more weight on accuracy.

ISBN: 9781977103420; Published January 2019 by Pebble Plus/Capstone; Review copy provided by publisher

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