I saw Jay Hosler at a comics convention several years ago. He was on a panel – I forget the topic – and he had his young son with him. The kid was supposed to be coloring but kept squirming and trying to get his dad’s attention. Hosler was patient with his son’s interruptions in that resigned way that parents have. His comments were very interesting but the main impression that I got is that he’s very human.
The story of Clan Apis is the life of a honeybee named Nyuki. She is an adorable grub at first, and asks endless questions of long-suffering Dvorah. Technically, Divorah is her older sister but she becomes a friend and mentor, guiding little Nyuki through the stages of her life.
Nyuki is a bundle of energy and she lacks common sense and is super confident. These traits cause her to have more than her share of adventures. As she grows up, she has some tough decisions to make, and she learns some of the hard facts of life in the hive.
She meets and befriends the dung beetle Sisyphus and the flower Bloomington. She loses friends too. Old Yeller and Bambi come to mind.
When I was about ten, I read The City under the Back Steps about two human children who shrink and learn about ants. I read all the nonfiction books about ants I could find for awhile. I bet that if I had read Hosler’s book as a kid, I’d be obsessed with entomology to this day.
Tons of neato and gross-out facts tucked into an engaging story, what more could you ask for? Well, on his website, Hosler lists the topics that each chapter of the book covers.
Despite all the excellent scientific bee info, Nyuki’s story remains very immediate and concrete. She is, not surprisingly, very human.