Rosie the Tarantula: A True Adventure in Chicago’s Field Museum – Katie Macnamara

Illustrations – Peggy Macnamara

I’ve read this book twice so far and I’m still not sure what to say about it. While I can certainly appreciate the story, artwork and the interesting facts at the end, it’s not the sort of book I’d choose to purchase for a child unless I already knew they had a fascination for spiders or science, or if we’d been on a tour of Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History and they’d expressed an interest in it.

Without knowing the age group that Rosie the Tarantula is intended to reach it’s difficult to say whether it is appropriate or not but I would expect older children would be more interested.

The rhyming worked well but included words that younger children most likely wouldn’t be familiar with including bespattered and DDT. The facts at the end were very interesting but more so for an adult audience or an older child with an enquiring mind.

The watercolour illustrations were gorgeous but their soft colours aren’t what you usually see in books for younger children, which again leads me to believe this book is more appropriate for older children. I think adults will enjoy the detail in the illustrations more than their children, unless the child has been on a tour of the museum and can point out elements of the pictures they remember seeing during their visit.

While I can see this book selling well in the museum’s gift shop I’m not sure how it will be received outside of this setting. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Northwestern University Press for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Chicago’s famed Field Museum of Natural History is home to a collection of thirty million geological and biological specimens that enchant and dazzle two million visitors of all ages each year. Based on a true story, Rosie the Tarantula: A True Adventure in Chicago’s Field Museum is a beautifully illustrated introduction to the Field’s treasures through the eyes of Rosie, a member of the museum’s live arachnid collection.

Several years ago, Rosie went on an expedition to the wonders of the Field’s soaring halls, such as Sue the Tyrannosaurus rex, as well as the secret specimens of animal fossils and human artifacts hidden away in drawers, cabinets, and bins. Renowned Field Museum artist-in-residence Peggy Macnamara brings the marvels of the museum to vivid life in a set of gorgeous and meticulously accurate watercolors. Peggy’s daughter Katie narrates the story of this restless arachnid in rhyme ideal for reading aloud to children.

A keepsake quality book that will delight budding young scientists and their families, Rosie the Tarantula provides a colourful, interactive experience with one of Chicago’s foremost cultural institutions. This one-of-a-kind book is rounded out by fascinating notes for adult readers, and other fun features for further reading. 

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