Behold the Beautiful Dung Beetle
by Cheryl Bardoe
Art by Alan Marks
Published by Charlesbridge in 2014
I guess maybe because I’m from a dairy farm where I grew up scooping up the cowpiles, I was totally fascinated by this clever insect whose world consists of animal dung. But beyond that, I must say that the outstanding feature of this book is the author’s excellent use of word choice.
This text is engaging. The cool facts are fascinating. The artwork is appealing. By the end of this book, I was agreeing. Yes! The dung beetle is truly a beautiful insect.
I’m particularly interested in this book by Charlesbridge because I am interested in writing nonfiction about stuff like bugs and animals and nature. This is definitely one of my new mentor texts.
And guess what? I typed it out, word for word. As an exercise. I like to do that for so many reasons. One thing I discovered is that it clocked in at a whopping 1059 words! So for all of you nonfiction authors who get told by your fellow fiction picture book writers that your manuscript needs to be 300 words or less, stress no more.
There are two levels of text in this picture book and most of the information is told in the subtext. Plus, there’s hefty back matter which I didn’t even count. So between the main text, the subtext, and the back matter, there is plenty of room here to get your point across to young readers. Check it out!!!!
Here’s my rubric for it.