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The Humblebee Hunter: Inspired by the Life & Experiments of Charles Darwin and His Children

by Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrated by Jen Corace

Published by Disney / Hyperion, 2010
32 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4231-1356-0

Ages 5 - 9

Etty would much rather be outside where “raspberries glistened in the sun and birds brushed the air with song” than baking in the kitchen. So when her father calls from the garden where he’s watching the bees, she eagerly joins him. In a short time, Etty and her siblings are engaged in helping with one of his experiments, each child assigned to count how many times a bee visits a flower in a minute. “Ready . . . start!” Deborah Hopkinson’s fictionalized story is told from the point of view of Charles Darwin’s second daughter, Henrietta. Etty’s engagement with the experiment is drawn out over a series of pages marking the minute’s passing as she counts each blossom her flour-dusted bee visits. Her focus is so intense that she feels like a bee herself. The sudden cry of “Stop!” marks the end of the minute and Hopkinson’s story, and one can imagine the voices of Darwin’s children exploding with observations. An author’s note provides additional information about Darwin and his children, whom he often involved in his scientific inquiries. Jen Corace’s stylized illustrations capture Etty’s intense focus and a sense of the curiosity and warmth in the Darwin household. (MS) ©2010 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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