Parents' Guide to

One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin

By Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Extraordinary book celebrates curiosity, and an amazing man.

One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 7+

Based on 1 parent review

age 7+

Appealing depiction of the man, and the formation of a revolutionary idea

The attractive, contemporary illustrations have kid appeal. I give it four stars, rather than five, because in places it's rather jumpy: clarity of expression and narrative got sacrificed for style and format choices. (For instance, in the mini-chapter "The Voyage of a Lifetime Begins", it isn't until the second sentence of the second paragraph that the text explains what is actually under discussion!) But I found it works quite well as a "read aloud", when I could add a transition or a bit of context beyond the text. As for instance, when the text discusses Darwin's abhorrence of slavery, it's a good point to add a mention that the idea of common descent (common ancestry for all humans) was congruent with the abolitionist beliefs in his family.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This is truly an extraordinary book about an extraordinary man. Darwin's story is intriguing and amazing in itself. Here it's presented in writing that kids will find inviting in its straightforward simplicity yet lively expressive tone. The accompanying artwork, which is both beautifully layered and complex, makes it all the more captivating. Kathryn Latsky's writing presents this amazing story in a way that is both approachable and complete. Together, they celebrate not only Darwin's exploration of ideas about the world he saw, but also, as the author hopes in her dedication, "children, whose boundless curiosity gives them a right to know their history on Earth."

The artwork is equally extraordinary. Done in several layers, each illustration truly captures the intrigue and mystery of the natural world. Trueman began each one with a sensitive ink and watercolor drawing, added to it first with gouache and colored pencil, then a layer of acrylic painting. Finally, after a bit more graphite and colored pencil, he added subtle touches of paper, string, weeds, wildflowers, and other collage elements he gathered in the world around him. Amazing! The result is a book that is the perfect celebration of Darwin's bicentennial anniversary, and one that all readers, especially the naturalists, certainly will treasure.

Book Details

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