The Beetle and the Berry – Children’s Picture Book Review
The Beetle and the Berry by indie author Eve Heidi Bine-stock is a cute little tale for toddlers about overcoming adversity through lateral thinking.
It’s fair to say that Eve Heidi Bine-stock has a love affair with words. One of her fondest ever memories is receiving a dictionary as a gift on her 13th birthday. She has a masters degree in Library Science and is working on her PhD in Visual Literacy. Plus she worked for over a decade with a boutique publisher specialising in children’s books. With such a deep background, you’d be forgiven for thinking The Beetle and the Berry would be quite elaborate. A book of complex imagery, design and word choice. Instead, it’s stripped back and delightfully simple, delivering a simple message to the youngest of readers.
The Beetle and the Berry Story Review
Arthur was hungry. A beetle no bigger than a freckle, this little go-getter sets off into the big bright world to find something to eat. When he stumbles on a berry, which feels enormous from his perspective, it’s very exciting. It will feed him for a whole week! But how will he get it home? The simple task of rolling it becomes more challenging than he expected when the berry gets stuck. Arthur needs to change his perspective, and look at the situation from a new direction, to find a solution and escape with his prize.
I love the way The Beetle and the Berry sticks to its core story without distraction. Author Eve Heidi Bine-stock is aiming for a young audience and the text wisely avoids complication. The concepts of size, and of rolling something round, are a simple foundation to hook the child’s attention. While the feeling of frustration and being overwhelmed is easy to comprehend. That Arthur is able to overcome the little obstacle in his way, and is rewarded with food of all things, seals the deal.
It’s a short story, and a perfect little read before bedtime. I wonder if some shots at the end of a real beetle and a few “beetle facts” may have added some extra depth for kids who want it. But its omission doesn’t detract from the overall experience. For its target audience, The Beetle and the Berry is a delicious after dinner desert.
The Beetle and the Berry Story Technical Review
Like its narrative, Eve Heidi Bine-stock keeps the illustrations simple. There really is only two elements to consider; the berry and the beetle. Bold, blocky colours paint each scene in its barest details. The art does do a good job of complimenting the text, but I would have liked to have seen a bit more detail in the background. Especially to get that sense of scale. Other items from around a back yard, or other little bugs watching on, could have given parents more to point at. More to interact with when reading to their kids.
It was also a bit surprising to see a magnifying glass in a couple of images. It appears without context and didn’t quite make sense to me. The original image didn’t seem so zoomed back that it was required, and perhaps just zooming in the whole image on the key element could have worked. A small element to debate; you may think differently.
I like the design. In landscape, the images consume the top two-thirds of the page, with the text sitting below. There is just the right amount of text to go with each image, too. And as mentioned previously, Eve Heidi Bine-stock’s word choice is excellent and reciprocated by each illustration’s scene. Parents will have no issues reading the font, or getting the illustrations in front of their child.
In truth, there’s not much going on in this children’s picture book. But The Beetle and the Berry is well-conceived and focused in its construction. As a result, it fits very snugly with its target audience while offering a simple but important message.
- Author: Eve Heidi Bine-stock
- Illustrator: Eve Heidi Bine-stock
- Suitable for: Ages 2-4
- Where to Buy: Amazon
Where to Next?
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