Review Blog

Jun 25 2018

Behold the beautiful dung beetle by Cheryl Bardoe

cover image

Ill. by Alan Marks. Charlesbridge, 2018, ISBN 9781580895552
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Dung beetles, Dung, Insects. All animals leave behind dung or faeces or poo (feces and poop in this book published in the USA) and it needs cleaning up. The dung beetle is onto the task almost immediately, sensing when some is dropped and flying to the poo within fifteen seconds of it hitting the ground. He needs to be fast, as many thousands of other dung beetles are on their way as well. Once there, different dung beetles do different things. Some bury it before others get there, some eat it, some make tunnels taking the poo down with them where one egg is left in each piece of dung, some roll the dung into a ball and roll it away to a place where it can be buried and used to incubate an egg.
The dung beetle therefore creates air pockets in the soil, aerating it, as well as fertilising it. And the dung provides food for the growing grub. No wonder the Ancient Egyptians saw them as symbols of life and its renewal, calling them scarabs.
This is a fascinating little book with illustrations that wonderfully complement the text, revealing exactly what the beetles look like, what they do and how they operate. The last two pages give information as text, with a glossary and bibliography.
This is an outstanding contribution to the area of simpler texts about our natural world, produced energetically for beginning readers. The idea of poo is a surefire winner, but the work of the dung beetle will hold their attention, prompting children to look more closely at the poo left around the place and be in awe of how it is removed by this marvelous insect.
Fran Knight

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