ONE BEETLE TOO MANY by Kathryn Lasky


The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin
by and illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 10
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The upcoming bicentennial of Darwin’s birth has already increased interest in his life and theories. Lasky, whose lively style has brought innumerable individuals, both well-known and obscure, to life for young audiences, makes an unexpected misstep here with a conversational narrative that is confusingly disjointed. A teeny-tiny note on the copyright page acknowledges that the event that gives the book its title, a collecting expedition in which Darwin transported three unusual beetles at once by holding one in each hand and the third in his mouth, did not take place in his young childhood, as implied by her version. Changing history, even in so minor a way, is an inauspicious beginning. From there Lasky jumps from event to event with little transition, stuffing Darwin’s life into the remaining pages, an approach which seems likely to confuse child readers. Trueman’s illustrations, though appealing, contribute to the confusion. The inclusion of various natural objects adds interest and complements the subject, but the oversized heads and button eyes of his characters create an incongruously cartoonish feel. A disappointing effort. (Biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7636-1436-2
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2008


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