Behold the Beautiful Dung Beetleby Cheryl Bardoe, Alan Marks
Simple science text and dramatic illustrations give a close-up view of the fascinating world of the dung beetle. When an animal lightens its load, dung beetles race to the scene. They battle over, devour, hoard, and lay their eggs in the precious poop. Dung is food, drink, and fuel for new life—as crucial to these beetles as the beetles are to many habitats,
Simple science text and dramatic illustrations give a close-up view of the fascinating world of the dung beetle. When an animal lightens its load, dung beetles race to the scene. They battle over, devour, hoard, and lay their eggs in the precious poop. Dung is food, drink, and fuel for new life—as crucial to these beetles as the beetles are to many habitats, including our own.
Despite its slightly unsavory habits, this important beetle deserves a chance to shine. Bardoe eases into discussing dung by mentioning that an animal, somewhere in the world this very second, is "lightening its load." Beetles flock to one dung pat by the thousands, sometimes getting there a mere 15 seconds after it was dropped. There are three different types of dung beetles—dwellers, rollers and tunnelers—and as Bardoe nonchalantly describes, each "has a different way of enjoying the poop." From rolling smooth balls of dung (and performing acrobatic moves to transport it) to getting into fights to catch the fancy of a mate, these tiny beetles are quite entertaining. Each double-page spread contains text in two fonts: The larger-type text is chatty and informative, while the smaller provides more detail. Both sets are immensely readable. Golden watercolor sunsets and vast open plains surround the text. Compelling close-ups show deep tunnels and every part of the beetle. The exalted tone of the title and cover illustration of a dung beetle in a triumphant, legs-to-the-heavens stance may seem a bit excessive at first. But no doubt by the end, readers will find it difficult not to join in the adulation. An excrement—er, excellent—read. (appended facts, beetle diagram, glossary, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 5-8)
Read an Excerpt
Somewhere in the world right now an animal is lightening its load—
in your backyard,
on a nearby farm,
in a forest,
on a grassland far away.
Meet the Author
Cheryl Bardoe is the author of two NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor books, Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas; and Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age. She lives with her family near Hartford, Connecticut.
Alan Marks is the illustrator of many books for children, including Snow School; Little Lost Bat; A Mother’s Journey (a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor book); and Storm (winner of the Carnegie Medal). Alan lives in an old house in the Kent countryside with his wife and two daughters.
Susie Berneis is a versatile voice over artist with numerous narration credits to her name. She has an ear for dialect and a love for the process of developing characters, cultivated in her 20-plus years of experience as a community and regional stage actress. Based in Ann Arbor, (home of the University of Michigan, where she received her BA in English and Theatre) Susie now takes great joy in playing all the characters she encounters in her narration.
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