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Stephen and the Beetle
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Stephen and the Beetle

3.30  ·  Rating Details  ·  110 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
When Stephen spots a beetle he takes off his shoe and raises his arm, ready to strike... but then he has second thoughts. He lays his head down on the ground and the beetle walks right up to him. At the last moment the beetle turns aside and each can go on with the day, having avoided the worst.

In this very simple story Jorge Luján presents the kind of deep moral questions
Hardcover, 36 pages
Published August 1st 2012 by Groundwood Books (first published May 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 167)
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Nov 20, 2012 Tasha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This very simple story explores philosophical areas while still remaining a picture book that is accessible to very young children. Stephen was walking in the garden and sees a beetle. He took off his shoe and was about to smack the beetle. The beetle continued on its way, unaware of the threat. Stephen raised his shoe higher, but then started to wonder about what the beetle was doing and where it was walking to. So Stephen set down his shoe and put his head on the ground. The beetle came closer ...more
Rachel Watkins
Mar 09, 2014 Rachel Watkins rated it it was amazing
This book simply and beautifully deals with the moral issue of whether or not to squish a beetle. It's perfect.
Sep 15, 2012 Maddypictures rated it it was amazing
A thought-provoking take on an everyday event. A little boy notices a beetle, and is just about to squash it, when he decides to slow down and watch where the beetle is going instead. What a great way to open a discussion about mindfulness of nature and the creatures in it. The foreign language translation works beautifully - the text flows very well. Collage illustrations featuring acrylic, ink, pencil, oil pastel set a somewhat serious tone. This is a contender for the Batchelder award for sur ...more
Lu Benke
I like how brief this picture book is. After all, the decision to either smoosh or not smoosh a bug is probably one of a zillion moments in a child's life and rarely does it involve a lot of thought. The changing perspective for the boy from upright looking down to head-on looking at a beetle in a face that could have been a dinosaur's except for size is the crux of the message. As I think in terms of storytimes or book sets, I can see this being paired nicely with Steven Jenkin's Beetle Book.
Lots of room left in this narrative for the reader to enter and think. The various media underscore the theme of looking at things from a different perspective.
Aug 09, 2013 Pamela rated it did not like it
An interesting idea, but evidently here having an idea is supposed to substitute for writing an actual book/story. I suppose the philosophical types would say that you have to write the story in your head, and it's only as good as you make it, etc. However, there's nothing particularly new or groundbreaking in this book.

While I can appreciate the illustrations as an adult, I think they would really freak out most kids. And either the translation is really strange, or the author thinks that trice
Samara Winter
Mar 30, 2015 Samara Winter rated it did not like it
Stephen and the Beetle wasn't the best children's book I've read. It is about a little boy who spots a beetle, he stakes off his shoe and plans to hit it but then he thinks " Where is the beetle going, anyway?" So he gets down on all fours and follows the beetle around. The beetle comes up to his face and lifting its feet as if it was about to attack then just walks away making it's way to the furthest corner of the garden.

This book did not have any character development to me or any real story
This book had a great message: that all living beings serve a purpose. A little boy comes to this conclusion while contemplating squashing a beetle with his shoe.

The problem is that the illustrations leave much to be desired in terms of clarity for kids. It's going to take a special child with a good imagination to make sense of these pictures.
Nov 23, 2014 Paul rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens-lit
This very simple but very expressive book manages to tackle narratively and visually our encounter with the created world around on a very concrete level. Philosophy and morality are issues that demand too much from this understated treatment. The illustrations are beautiful while avoiding cute. I especially liked the pencil and acrylic lines, some white on a dark background, others colors, and what looks like ink that is or drawn with a crude brush or pen.
May 25, 2013 Laura rated it liked it
Stephen finds a beetle in the garden. While raising his shoe to smash it, he suddenly wonders about what the beetle is doing and where it is going. Instead of killing the insect, he closely observes it and becomes curious about the beetle's movements. I loved the theme of the book but the illustrations didn't quite work for me; unnatural colorings were used and the non-realistic styling didn't quite serve the theme as well as I might have liked. Still, it's a great message for young children, es ...more
Nov 27, 2012 Barbara rated it really liked it
With acrylic, ink, pencil, oil pastel, and collage illustrations, this surprising book is sure to prompt reflection and thoughtful consideration of our own actions and their consequences. When Stephen sees a beetle in the yard, he gets ready to squash it with his shoe. But before doing so, he stops to think about where it might be going and gets closer to see it better. Just as the boy leaves the beetle alone, so does the beetle leave the boy alone. Hmmm...I love the message in this book. Young ...more
Sep 14, 2014 Danielle rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Love how this one explores another's perspective. A beetle's perspective. Also, the illustrations!
Christine Ridout
Feb 15, 2013 Christine Ridout rated it liked it
Stephen finds a beetle in the garden. He takes off his shoe, raises it above his head and gets ready to smash it. But he stops and gets down on the ground and looks at the beetle’s face which he decides looks like a giant triceratops. He decides not to kill the beetle and the beetle wanders off to another part of the garden. Stephen then ponders the philosophical/moral issue of what difference it makes whether the beetle is alive or dead. Much too complicated to read to a group. I would only rea ...more
Carrie Gelson
Very interesting title. Would love to read it with a group of kids.
Apr 17, 2013 Rachel rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Stephen is about to squash a beetle with his shoe, when he realizes it doesn't really make any difference whether or not the beetle is dead or alive. I liked the illustrations in this book I liked how they changed depending on whether you were seeing Stephen's point of view or the beetle's. I liked the story's theme, but I wanted to hear a little more, thus the reason for only 3 stars.
Yoo Kyung Sung
A child as an investigator/researcher is illustrated in this book. It is a way of playing with observing an insect.
Although texts are simple, some of "big" words to describe a beetle will encourage readers to look up the meaning of the big words. Respecting play as a serious learning is here with this book.
Feb 27, 2013 Beverly rated it it was ok
Shelves: picturebooks
I guess people in Italy, the illustrator's home nation, like this kind of artwork; I find it downright ugly. (Other colleagues of mine agreed). The saving grace is the story: the boy is about to smack the beetle into beetle goo; but changes his mind and tries to get a beetle's eye view of the world.
Ariel Cummins
Dec 14, 2012 Ariel Cummins rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
A picture book for adults who view picture books as art, but not really for children. A super-didactic and existential book (who knew you could be both at once!).

Definitely a one-on-one book, if anything, but I think that the art is a little too abstract for most kids to understand and enjoy.
Nov 24, 2012 Holly rated it liked it
This is an interesting and unusually illustrated book about a boy named Stephen who encounters a beetle in the garden. Just as he decides to squash the beetle with his shoe, he starts to wonder where the beetle is going and what for. He changes his mind.
Dec 15, 2013 Nikki rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
Great illustrations promise an adventure, but when Stephen wisely decided to observe the beetle instead of squishing it, his observations and interest only last a moment. This premise sets Stephen up for a lot more awe and learning but falls short.
Nitza Campos
Nov 05, 2012 Nitza Campos rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
(K-2) Stephen finds a beetle and is about to squash it when he has a thought. Instead of killing the beetle, he decides to watch it. Interesting illustrations. Finally! A book about what I always tell my students.
Dec 13, 2014 Ranea rated it did not like it
Shelves: picture-books
This one got a two thumbs down from Sue and I. We were greatly disappointed. There was a lot of build up and a very abrupt ending that left us saying, "Huh?"
May 25, 2016 Kelly rated it really liked it
an unusual children's book--wonderful artwork and a minimalist story about seeing the world from a bug's point of view.
Mar 07, 2013 Maria rated it it was ok
I didn't find the illustrations at all appealing. The language was also weak - perhaps due to translation?
Stephen changes his mind. Instead of squashing a beetle he follows it
Jenny Russell
I liked the message but I did NOT like the illustrations.
New York Times Best Illustrated list, 2012
Danielle Mootz
Danielle Mootz rated it it was ok
May 21, 2016
Allie Rogers
Allie Rogers rated it liked it
May 12, 2016
Antonio Kleber Gomes
Antonio Kleber Gomes rated it it was ok
May 04, 2016
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Also known as Jorge Elias Lujan. ...more
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