Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Not a Bean” as Want to Read:
Not a Bean
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Not a Bean

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  115 ratings  ·  24 reviews
A Mexican jumping bean isn't a bean at all. It's a fascinating home and food source for a special kind of caterpillar!

With Spanish vocabulary and a clever counting concept, this poetic story shares the life cycle of a Mexican jumping bean. This curious jumping insect is actually a seedpod from a shrub called yerba de la flecha, into which a caterpillar burrows, living insi
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Charlesbridge
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Not a Bean, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Not a Bean

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  115 ratings  ·  24 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Not a Bean
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I used to play with these when I was younger they were just so fun. Now I feel bad because I'm thinking the moth probably didn't survive long when it hatched (in Northern Ohio instead of Mexico). The writing has a counting theme in mixed English and Spanish. A few long Spanish words for animals and plants I didn't know, but fortunately there's a glossary in the back. ...more
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a delightful blend of nonfiction (the life cycle of the jumping bean moth), counting (one caterpillar up to ten stars), and spanish vocabulary words. The illustrations show three rattlesnakes where the story reads “tres cascabeles,” and the glossary and back matter is great for readers who want to learn more. An adorable and informative story!
Edward Sullivan
The hidden secrets of the legendary Mexican jumping beans are revealed in a clever counting story that introduces Spanish vocabulary related to the desert ecosystem.
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a great story! I had forgotten all about Mexican Jumping Beans. They used to be sold in so many places when I was growing up, now I never see them. For the longest time I wondered what was in them, then, when I last remember seeing them in my really early 20's, I cracked one open to find out. Horrified at the poor caterpillars trapped inside, I freed them all. Probably a bad thing to do now that I've read the book. Sad. Sadder that anyone even thought of exporting the poor creatures to area ...more
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really like this book. It’s great for kids who love bugs. Lots to learn, even some fun Spanish words. Fun to read out loud.
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Not a Bean by Claudia Guadalupe Martinez, illustrated by Laura Gonzalez. PICTURE BOOK. Charlesbridge, 2019. $17. ISBN 9781580898157



Part Spanish counting book, part moth life cycle narrative, this book follows a jumping bean caterpillar, inside its “not a bean” seedpod, for a day as it jumps out of the sunlight, away from animal sounds, and around a playing board drawn on the ground. The next day, the saltarine (jumper) is still. The
I had one of these when I was a little kid; I don't know where it came from or how I got it or what exactly happened to it ... (I'm not picturing a rosy future for this moth in western Michigan; I'm sorry!). What a terrific book all around! Great illustrations! Seamless use of a concept (counting) and Spanish words in the story (thank you for the translations in the back) and teaching about a little known thing. ...more
Miss Sarah
An elementary and up picture book about how a caterpillar burrows into a bean and then travels a long distance through weather and other means. Nice spanish words and counting mixed in.
Jane Hertenstein
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This cute little picture book disguises the fact that it is a teaching tool. I had no idea what a jumping bean really was! Now I know it is a multi-step process—just like the production of Not a Bean.

Full disclosure: I know the author. I saw drafts of Not a Bean as it was being formed, like a caterpillar into a beautiful moth or butterfly. I was privy to the twists and turns and pivots. And, just like the children surrounding the jumping “beans” I was curious to how it would all turn out.

For the
Dec 10, 2019 rated it liked it
A picture book detailing how a Mexican jumping bean isn't actually a bean. Spanish vocabulary is mixed in so that by the end of the book readers have counted to 10 and named numerous animals and plants. Most of the time the vocabulary is easy enough to deduce based on the illustrations, but there is a glossary in the back for trickier words. (Personally, I wish the flipping back and forth didn't need to happen.)

An average picture book in general, but a good multi-cultural science picture book.
A book about a moth that takes a long time to get where it’s going! But the counting and language journey is plenty fun. Each page counts up until we get to 10, and there are many Spanish words nicely incorporated into the text. Reading with the four-year-old we had a good time counting in English and Spanish on each page, as well as following the journey of not-a-bean.
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bookaday #27. Kid friendly text, masquerading as a counting book or NF depending on what resonates with the reader, engaging illustrations, sprinkling of Spanish words, life cycle of a moth. Always have been intrigued by Mexican jumping beans, don’t think I knew there were moths in them til quite recently. Public library has this shelved as juvenile fiction, verso says 595.78.
There is good information in this book. Although the glossary contains many words, the story would've worked better (in my opinion) as a read-aloud if the definitions were somewhere on each two-page spread. I can see this being an issue for whomever is reading the book, be that at home or at school.

I liked the counting aspect as well as the setting in Mexico.
Gail Canizares
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not a bean

A thoughtful story that teaches a few words in Spanish while teaching the life cycle of a particular moth. I only wish it reminded children that the Mexican jumping bean should not be bought and sold because the moth often does not survive.
Danni Green
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rov, strytmrvvl, reread-me
This adorable book integrates counting in Spanish and some vocabulary into a fascinating presentation of what a Mexican Jumping Beans. I think kids will enjoy learning about this "bean" that's really a home for a bug, whether they've seen one before or not -- I know I did! ...more
Melanie Gaum
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was given a jumping bean in my first entomology course in college. It was really fun to watch it jump around. Mine never turned into a moth, but that would have been cool to have seen. This book did a good job of casually mixing in Spanish numbers, plants, animals, and other words.
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pb
Absolutely brilliant. Clever and charming. Discover how a Mexican jumping bean isn’t a bean at all in this delightful multi-layered book of life cycles, counting, Spanish vocabulary, and friendship. Fascinating and fun!
Ms Threlkeld
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Interesting and informative book about jumping beans. Good as a read aloud.
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Spanish words and numbers with an introduction of the "Spanish Jumping Bean" caterpillar and lifecycle. Very educational book with lots of new topics to teach. ...more
Feb 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Like Susan Middleton Elya in that some Spanish words are set in a majority English text
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wonderful! The science of the jumping bean along with some counting, spanish vocabulary and lovely illustrations. Unusual and interesting!
I had no idea that jumping beans were caterpillars.
Mar 10, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars -- What is a "Mexican jumping bean" and why do they jump? This colorful book, with multiple Spanish vocab words, tells us the story. ...more
Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.
Adrienne G
rated it really liked it
Jan 23, 2020
rated it really liked it
Feb 04, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Dec 21, 2019
rated it liked it
Dec 14, 2019
Michele Knott
rated it really liked it
Feb 21, 2020
rated it liked it
Dec 23, 2019
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao
  • Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea
  • Fortunately, the Milk
  • The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family
  • Lift
  • Just Like Beverly: A Biography of Beverly Cleary
  • The Grossest Picture Book Ever
  • The Little Dragon
  • Sleep: How Nature Gets Its Rest
  • Migrations: Open Hearts, Open Borders: The Power of Human Migration and the Way That Walls and Bans Are No Match for Bravery and Hope
  • My First Book of New York
  • Life: The First Four Billion Years: The Story of Life from the Big Bang to the Evolution of Humans
  • Playing with Collage
  • Walk This Underground World
  • North America: A Fold-out Graphic History
  • Guts (Smile, #3)
  • The Crayon Man: the True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons
See similar books…
Claudia is the award winning author of The Smell of Old Lady Perfume and Pig Park. She grew up in sunny El Paso (TX), but now lives and writes in Chicago.

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
30 likes · 6 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »