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Clan Apis

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  330 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Clan Apis is the biography of a honey bee named Nyuki told in comic book form. Written and drawn by biologist Jay Hosler, Clan Apis is an elegant blend of humor, storytelling, and scientifically accurate information regarding honey bee biology and natural history. This book will entertain and educate readers of all ages.
Paperback, 158 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by Active Synapse
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I guess I am off to a slow start in 2010. Since I read so much in 2009 and my nose is deeply buried in 22 books right now, I can't fault myself much for not finishing any of them yet. I picked this up because we're starting a beehive this year and Her Majesty's Secret Beekeeper recommended this book on a Craft gift guide for beekeepers. Plus, Levi will read any graphic novel in the house, so it's a good way to sneak in information when he doesn't realize he's learning.

Anyway, this is a graphic n...more
Kevin Fanning
Klara recommended this because I was asking her all kinds of questions about bees. This was PERFECT. She is a GOOD LIBARIAN! Raimi and I read it together, he's been totally fascinated with bees ever since my cousin gave him a piece of honeycomb. Raimi learning a ton about the lifecycle of bees and what life inside a hive is like. I liked it because it's about life and death and infinity and stuff. Kind of blown away about what the author did here. I got extremely emotional reading this plus lear...more
Fascinating! A well-executed blend of informational text and storytelling packaged in graphic novel format. I really enjoyed this one.
Imagine the best biology class you ever had got together with your favorite author and had a baby/book. That book is Clan Apis. I learned more about honey bees from this graphic novel that I ever did from studying them. All that information was a side effect of the engrossing story. Mr. Hosler knocked this one out of the park. I originally purchased Clan Apis to give to my nephew... but I'm not sure I can bear to part with it.

If any of the following are true for you, you will enjoy Clan Apis:
Loree Burns
CLAN APIS is a graphic novel about honey bees. I know. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect myself. But let me tell you … this is a a totally fun and scientifically accurate graphic novel introduction to the world of the honey bee. I kid you not. It is a honey bee must read.

Hosler is a neurobiologist at Juniata College, where he studies—you guessed it—honey bees. In his spare time he cartoons, mostly about sciencey stuff. Can’t remember the last sciencey cartoon you came across? Then check out Kil...more
Jan 29, 2008 Megan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: science teachers, k-8 teachers
Recommended to Megan by: the Lon
Clan Apis is one of the funniest and most moving educational books I've ever read. Jay Hosler's writing is clear and inventive; you don't even notice you're learning a lot while you're reading this. Very much in the vein of what Richard Adams does for rabbits in Watership Down, Hosler does a fantastic job of giving bees strong anthropomorphic character and making them interesting enough to care about. In reading Clan Apis learned a lot about bees, and a bit about myself. This is one of my favori...more
My 10yo enjoyed this educational read, though she also felt it was a little too sad at the end.
Patrice Sartor
SUMMARY: Nyuki started life as a bee larva, like every other bee in her hive. Through the aid of her 'big sister', Dvorah, Nyuki learns her place in the hive, and eventually forms a friendship with a flower named Bloomington. The life cycle of bees, along with the different roles they play, how they communicate, their metamorphosis process and more is explored in an entertaining yet factually correct way.

EVALUATION: The drawings all seem technically correct, and are done in a black-and-white for...more
Excellent! Very readable and approachable, yet also dense with bee and hive biology. I'd recommend this to anyone with even a passing interest in bees. The bee character names were a particular treat, tripping through world cultures and their names for bees, hinting at the breadth and depth of humanity's relationship with honeybees.
If you're teaching a lesson in science class about bees, this is a great book. If you're looking for a graphic novel with a great and interesting plot, this isn't what you're looking for. The author has a PhD, and he does a great job at explaining the science of bees in a way that makes sense. Unfortunately, the dialog feels a bit off because half the book is spent explaining things, and the plot is minimal. I'm not usually a big fan of stories that are meant to teach something. Still, the art i...more
I just had to add this although I first read this book a few years ago. It's a wonderful book about life, death, and the meaning between those events. And it's about the lifecycle of bees. My older son loves this book as well; as he says he was surprised how choked up you can get reading about bees.

He is also inspired by the creative products of an entomologist, let alone any scientist, since he sees that as having your cake and eating it too (I know, it's nerdy!). He wants to be an artist/scien...more
My grandfather was an apiologist so I feel predisposed to love all things bee-related. This was a really fun, extremely punny graphic novel about the life of bees. The main bee, Nyuki, was super annoying, but all of the other bees were great. It's written by a guy who studies bees, so it's packed with information about bees. In that respect, I think it is better suited to younger readers than adults because of the sometimes overly-explanatory angle. It's still good though, and I would definitely...more
I first attempted this book with my 5 year old and even though the kid loved animal/science/biology type stuff, the language was too over his head and it felt dry and awkward, trying to blend facts about honey bees with an attempt at fictional story-telling. Fast forward 2 years and the same kid and I gobbled it up. While the combo of fact and fiction isn't seamless, we ended up loving both aspects, and even got teared up at some of the... ok, spoiler alert... "cycle of life" themes. I definitel...more
Tyler Jing
Clan Apis is a very amazing book. It talks about the of a honey bee in a very fun and adventurous way. It's about a honey bee named Nyuki being in the world of the honey bee. She is very curious about everything and wants to learn about everything. She is curious about everything beyond the hive and sets of for her journey. She encounters predators and other scary things that later kept her hiding in the hive. Because of the great leadership of her sister Dvorah, Nyuki soon realises to see the b...more
Fantastic little story, with a great mix of imagination, naturalistic detail, and scientific information. Would have given this five stars, except that sometimes, the inclusion of the science part isn't smooth. Also, I wish the overall story was a little longer.

But in retrospect, as it follows the natural life-span of one particular bee, I guess it couldn't have been a mini-series.

Highly recommended, esp. to comic lovers, people that like bugs, and people who like Larry Gonick.
Giuseppe Pizzimenti
Prendete l'ape Maia dei cartoni animati di tanto tempo fa, fornitela di un discutibile senso dell'umorismo , una certa dose di codardia ma anche di acume e attenzione per gli altri , accompagnatela con amici e nemici forti e rispettabili, ..poi aggiungete la correttezza scientifica (l'autore è un biologo e ricercatore) ed un nome molto più "cool"...ed infine dategli un piano per partecipare al grande ciclo della Vita..

..ed avrete realizzato "Clan Apis"...
This was a really entertaining introduction to bee biology. It brought me back to grad school days climbing in a flight chamber with a hive of honey bees. Sometimes the facts of colony life was seamless in the plot and dialog but more often it was clearly the author instructing the reader. Still, it is a great way to learn the biology and the art was terrific and accurate. Can't stand cartoon bees with a smiley face and stinger nose instead of on the abdomen!
Written by a biologist with a Ph.D., this is not your ordinary graphic novel. With dialogue and pictures, Hosler teaches us about honeybees, from the larva stage to death. He explains how they go through metamorphosis, why bees swarm and how the queen operates, what the different jobs are and how bees fit into their environment. This is much better than reading a dry text about the life of a bee. I bet you'll learn something new!
this was on a list of proposed books for our students....proposed by a teacher....even though i'm not finished with it, i know it's not gonna make the's good, but it's not a high school text.....middle school maybe.....

this was pretty good...i don't know is the science is sound.....but i still stand by my belief that this is not really a rigorous enough text to teach in a high school english class......
Abby Johnson
More than you ever thought you needed to know about bees... but presented in a fun, engaging way. As Nyuki grows from a larva to a young bee to a mature bee, the reader learns all about how the hive works, the dangers bees face, why bees swarm, how bees create their honeycombs, and more. The narrative format gives the readers characters to care about and a good story as well as lots of information.
Despite the fact that I felt even more nerdy as I read this book, it was well worth it. Everyone should read it once to gain a deeper understanding of the bug world. I only hope that my poor future nieces or nephews appreciate having this read to them night after night.

Oh, and Ayn Rand would probably hate this book. Bees are too selfless. Yet another reason to award it five stars!

Sep 26, 2007 Kathy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all ages, even adults
This great graphic novel was filled with interesting information about the life of a bee, not to be confused with the Secret Life of Bees. A simple story that takes us from Nyuki's larvae stage through her fascinating life in the Clan Apis hive to her death and "recycling". A youngster reading the story couldn't help but learn some bee biology, and probably be left hungry for more.
Anna Call
This was a great educational book. I can see it in any elementary school classroom. More educational than "Salmon Doubts" but with a similar theme: life and death are part of a natural cycle. As opposed to "Salmon Doubts," which is probably best for young teens, this book is appropriate for littler kids. I enjoyed it too, and actually learned a lot about bees.
Surprisingly funny! I really expected this to be a dry, dull treatise on the life of the bee, but from the moment I saw Nyuki as a disturbingly cute larva, telling horrible jokes that my dad would love, I was hooked. Even without the science foundation, the moral about living life now, since you only have one shot at it, it pleasant and accessible.
Gideon Obermax
This book is a great combination of educational and entertaining. As an adult, I learned oodles about what turned out to be a fascinating subject: life inside the hive. ("Apis" is Latin for "bee.") There may be points in the narrative that get a little hard for younger readers to follow but in general it is very well reasearched and very well written.
I've been into this graphic novel kick lately, and I have to say I was very impressed by this one. Anyone who can make science interesting to me (specifically insects) deserves 5 stars. The drawing is fantastic and the storyline really draws you in. The book is full of humor and facinating information. I never realized how cool honey bees are.
Jun 12, 2007 Annie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: geeky kids
I just taught this book for 5/6th grade literature. It was awesome because Jay Hosler does an excellent job of breaking down the lives of bees while still making the storyline intersting and the pictures were great. Plus, he's an accessible author, to the point of answering emails about curriculum. Which reminds me, I should send him what I made...
Very informative, lots of silly jokes, fairly annoying main character. Because it tries to balance accurate information about bees while still providing entertainment, the writing is somewhat forced, but the illustrations are very detailed and the information is excellent. A good way to encourage reading non-fiction/informational books.
Tim Canny
An educational graphic novel that balances humor, info, and story pretty well. Also, I feel Mr. Hosler did as good a job as possible giving the bees personality in his drawings without anthropomorphizing them. A great intro to the honey bee for anyone interested in bees or bugs in general.
Richard Rothaus
I thought this would be over the head of my 6 year old, and much of it was. Nevertheless, the character development, dynamism and graphics sucked him in. Nyuki as an empathetic narrator seems to be key in keeping his interest. I'm going to enjoy revisiting this with him every year or so.
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Dr. Jay Hosler is an Associate Professor of Biology at Juniata College and an award-winning cartoonist who writes and draws comic books about biology and natural history. His work has been called "ingenious" (The London Times), "goofily inventive" (The New York Times), and "entertaining and slyly educational" (The Comics Journal). His works include Active Synapse classics such as Clan Apis, The Sa...more
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