Monday, September 29, 2014

Bilbao Beetle Learns to Share

Bilbao Beetle Learns to Share
By Andrea Saint James

A book review by Ginger Dawn Harman

One of the first lessons we’re taught as young children is about the importance of sharing. Author Andrea Saint James has accomplished this with her children’s book, Bilbao Beetle Learns to Share. Mama beetle was nearly at the end of her patience after a long day of Bilbao and Betty arguing. After being sent outside, the fighting continues over who gets to bring the first flower to mother beetle. The reader is then introduced to Axel Ant when Bilbao finds himself in trouble. This is where Andrea Saint James emphases the idea of sharing and is able to engage the reader.

 Through the characters, the value of cooperation is displayed from scaling mailbox posts to the rationing of food. Furthermore, the author cleverly entwines the insect and human world to reinforce the importance of social responsibility and responsibility to others, as well as the ability to engage in teamwork, empathy, and kindness. For example, Little Johnny decides to play a prank on Jill. This action leads to both negative and positive consequences that can be a great springboard for discussion with children after reading.

Roger Kabler has created illustrations that are lifelike to this reader which helps develop the characters beyond what is written in words. A great example of this is 59% into the Kindle book where children are resting in the grass looking into the insect jar. The play of light on the grass and children brings a warmth and gentleness within nature. Moreover, the illustrations help establish a tense mood and add depth to the story as the hammer is embedding a nail into the jar lid with Bilbao and Axel inside. This was brilliant because it creates empathy for Bilbao and Axel Ant while offering lessons on perspective.

Author Andrea Saint James has crafted a five star children’s novel that demonstrates the bravery, kindness, and humanity of ordinary people and the world of nature. Her characters find adventure and magic in everyday life lessons that can carry over into family and classroom discussion. I highly recommend Bilbao Beetle Learns to Share by Andrea Saint James.


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