The Humblebee Hunter

by Deborah Hopkinson and Jen Corace

Etty would much rather be outside where “raspberries glistened in the sun and... read more

Etty would much rather be outside where “raspberries glistened in the sun and birds brushed the air with song” than baking in the kitchen. When her father calls from the garden she eagerly joins him, and Etty and her siblings are soon engaged in 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 that 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 of 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 inquiry. Jen Corace’s stylized illustrations capture Etty’s intense focus and a sense of the curiosity and warmth in the Darwin household. (Ages 5–9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2011

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