Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Humblebee Hunter: Inspired by the life and experiments of Charles Darwin and

The Humblebee Hunter: Inspired by the life and experiments of Charles Darwin and

Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrator:  Jen Corace 
Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Hyperion, 2010   ISBN: 978-1423113560

Henrietta’s mother is trying to teach Henrietta how to make a honey cake, but Henrietta would rather be outside exploring, like her father. Henrietta is delighted when he father comes into the kitchen and asks for her help. He wants to know “just how many flowers a humblebee might visit in a minute.”

Many years ago Henrietta’s father went on a trip around the world collecting fossils, plants, and animals. Now Henrietta’s father still loves to collect things; he collects questions, and his children have a wonderful time helping him to find the answers. Happily Henrietta and the other children dust humblebees (what we call bumblebees) with flour, and then they follow the busy insects around the garden to see how many flowers the bees visit in one minute. Quickly Henrietta follows her bee around the garden from flower to flower until her father shouts that it is time to stop. What a grand experiment this one was!

This wonderful work of fiction beautifully shows what it was like to be one of Charles Darwin’s children. Charles Darwin conducted experiments of all kinds in the gardens and in the greenhouse around his house. Often his wife Emma and his many children, including Henrietta, helped him, and there can be no doubt that his experiments must have afforded this family many interesting hours.

Wonderfully written and full of unique illustrations, this book gives readers a peak into the private family life of a famous person from history.