Clan Apis - Jay Hosler

This book is brilliant. It's from the stack of graphic novels I brought home from the library, but it's unlike any of the others I've read lately. For one thing, it's written by a Ph.D., which doesn't necessarily mean there aren't some cheesy jokes in it, but at least he knows how to use apostrophes. Also, it's a scientifically accurate story about honey bees (well, aside from the fact that they talk). Except for the larva's cartoonish grin, everything is drawn fairly realistically: the bees look like real bees, with only slight differences in "hairdos" to tell the main characters apart. The drawings are sharp and detailed, not what you'd except from an expert on bees.

The story focuses on one particular bee, Nyuki, from larva to death, and teaches you all about bees (and a little about dung beetles) along the way. But lest you think this sounds like an astoundingly boring book, I hasten to add that it's also incredibly funny. From the depiction of a drone("HELLO, SISTER! I AM YOUR BROTHER ZAMBUR!") to Nyuki's encounter with a praying mantis ("I was just getting ready to eat. Would you like to join me?") to the way bees see flowers ("Nectar! Pollen! I got it, you want it!"), Hosler proves that he's got a great imagination to go along with his science background.

My text, of course, doesn't nearly do it justice. It's a great use of comics, and it's a shame I haven't come across more like it. Maybe Hosler needs to study naked mole rats next!

Fed to jonathan's brain | September 01, 2004