Friday, October 4, 2019

The True Story Of A World-Traveling Bug Hunter

Evelyn The Adventurous Entomologist
by Christine Evans; illus. by Yasmin Imamura
40 pages; ages 5 - 10
The Innovation Press, 2019

theme: nature, insects, biography

 Back in 1881 when Evelyn Cheesman was born, most people thought girls should be quiet, clean, and covered with lace.

They definitely weren’t supposed to kneel in the dirt and hunt for bugs – but Evelyn did. She loved insects and other animals, and wanted to be a veterinarian. But in the early 1900s, women weren’t allowed to become veterinary doctors. They weren’t even allowed to vote! So Evelyn worked as a veterinary nurse until one day she learned that the London Zoo’s insect house needed a keeper. Evelyn applied and soon found herself scooping insects from ponds and collecting caterpillars, beetles and other buggy creatures to fill the tanks of the insect house. And when that wasn’t enough, she went on collecting adventures around the world to find new arthropods for the Insect House.

What I like about this book: If you’ve followed this blog long enough, you know I am passionate about bugs. And illustrator Yasmin Imamura fills this book with them, from the end papers to illustrations. I love the story about Evelyn and can only imagine having to fight my way free from a sticky curtain of spider webs (which she has to do on one of her adventures).

I like the way author Christine Evans weaves fun images into the story: crowds swarming into the insect house, and bugs creeping, sliding, scurrying. And I really like the way she portrays Evelyn as an intrepid and curious explorer graced with an indomitable spirit.

And there is back matter (which you know I love!): more information about Evelyn, an interview with an entomologist, and a list of books and other resources for curious readers who want to know more.

Beyond the Books:

Be an entomologist. Start by watching insects that live around you: bees, beetles, caterpillars – even cockroaches! Need help getting started? Check out this post on how you can be an entomologist (with plenty of activities) and this one for a great field guide.

Draw some pictures of your favorite bugs (insects, spiders, snails….)

Visit an insect house at a zoo. If you’re in Ithaca on October 19, head to Cornell for Insectapalooza where you’ll meet hundreds of live insects, spiders, and other fascinating arthropods. They have a live Butterfly Room and Arthropod Zoo.

Learn more about Evelyn Cheesman here.

Today we're joining other book bloggers over at STEM Friday, where you can discover other cool STEM books. And we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website .
Review copy provided by the publisher.


  1. I didn't know about Evelyn Cheesman. She certainly did things her way and made a difference in the world. She's such an important role model. Love stories like this!

  2. I love books like this. Unfortunately, my library doesn't have it, but I asked them to order it. Hope I will be able to read it soon. Thanks for the post.

  3. Great minds think alike! I really like this book too. Nice to see it getting recognition. I loved the refrain - "But Evelyn went anyway." A great call to follow your heart and your dreams. Great review, Sue.

  4. I've heard about this book and seen the cover before. It's beautifully illustrated and although I'm not a bug person myself, (we have weta's here) (I run a mile whenever something moves) I think kids will absolutely love this and it's a great tool for in the classroom.