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In Search of Goliathus Hercules Hardcover – March 1, 2013


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"The Jaguar Stones, Book Four: The Lost City"
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company (March 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807529907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807529904
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #763,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In 1890 England, 10-year-old Henri discovers that not only can he communicate with insects but that he, too, is among their tribe. Debut author Angus builds this fantastical premise with well-placed scenes in which Henri’s own deep skepticism cleverly encourages the reader to join willingly in his discoveries, which include a housefly that can read and members of a flea circus whose performance improves when Henri translates the ringmaster’s orders. Even as his concerns become increasingly concentrated on the small world of insects, his world seems to grow. The disappearance of Henri’s father creates a framing mystery that builds on the themes of identity and metamorphosis and wraps up in a satisfying and original denouement. Illustrated with period postcards and other historical images, this moving, well-conceived novel blends the spirit of Franz Kafka and the sly humor of Eva Ibbotson and is accessible for new fantasy readers while offering something different to established fantasy fans. Grades 3-6. --Francisca Goldsmith

Review

"This book is well thought out and a joy to read. Children will find Henri and all of his insect friends to be relatable characters. It is a grand adventure, one full of excitement and plenty of questions to keep readers engaged." School Library Journal, February 2013

"Debuting author Angus builds this fantastical premise with well-placed scenes in which Henri's own deep skepticism cleverly encourages the reader to join willingly in his discoveries. . . .accessible for new fantasy readers while offering something different to established fantasy fans." Booklist, April 2013

"Angus, an artist who creates installations using bugs, excels with her insect characters. They liven things up with their often-humorous commentary and fierce loyalty to Henri." Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2013

"Roald Dahl meets Franz Kafka in this charming and unpredictable debut novel, which is set in the 1890s. . . .With respect and clever characterization, she makes fleas and other creepy-crawlies downright sympathetic, leaving readers to rethink their relationship with the insect world." Publishers Weekly, January 14, 2013

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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I enjoyed this book and think my children will like it also.
Karen Doran
Henri's quest will take him to foreign lands as he searches for Goliathus and any news about his father's whereabouts.
pamelathompsonblogger
As a bonus it is filled with the author's wonderful insect illustrations and lots of entomological knowledge.
L. Tabak

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dena on May 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
What a strange book. I can't say I liked it, but I definitely didn't hate it either. It was weird, different, and definitely not what I expected.

Henri is sent to live with his Great Aunt Georgie after his father goes missing. While at his Aunt's house, Henri discovers he can speak to insects. He runs away to join a flea circus, and eventually ventures to Asia in search of both his father and the legendary beetle Goliathus Hercules. All this time, Henri experiences peculiar physical changes. He tries to explain away these changes until he can no longer hide them.

Like I already mentioned, this book is unusual. The antagonist is frightening, yet the problems with her are left unresolved. The reader never finds out what her motives are and why/how she goes to such great lengths to cause trouble for Henri. I expected more resolution there. As for Henri, I don't know what to think. It was such a strange ending to a book. Bonus points for being different, I guess, but I can't say I loved the way Henri's story turned out. That being said, I couldn't have put this book down if I'd wanted to. I was glued to the page, and that counts for something.

This book is definitely for a specific type of reader. If you are looking for something highly unusual and kind of creepy, give it a shot. If weird isn't your thing, give it a pass.

Content: Some violence, but I consider it clean.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My kid loves bugs, so when we saw this, he had to have it. It is his favorite book. He's read it three times from cover to cover. I read it cursorily to ensure that it would be age appropriate, but when he saw me reading it, he snatched it away. The story seems to follow a similar story line as Kafka's Metamorphosis, but from a child's point of view. The child protagonist, Henri, discovers he can communicate with insects, and while on his quest to find his father, not seen since he left for a trip to Asia, finds himself more and more engaged in the insect world. This book also helped push my son's reading level and interest. He previously preferred comic books and picture books, but this was the first novel he tackled without any prodding. Recommended for all bug loving kids, and maybe some adults, too. I hope the author will write more kids' books in this series.
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Format: Hardcover
If you know a young reader whose is fascinated by insects, this is a must read. Author Jennifer Angus takes us back to Victorian times in the story of 12-year-old Henri Bell who is sent from England to America and discovers a strange and amazing skill: he can talk with insects. This sets off a series of adventures that reminded me of Water with Elephants (yes, there is a circus), the Lost City of Z (the story of a Victorian search for a mythical Amazonian Atlantis), with a layering of more fantastical stories such as Kafka's Metamorphosis. As a bonus it is filled with the author's wonderful insect illustrations and lots of entomological knowledge. I would have loved to curl up with this book as a 12-year-old after a hard day of chasing insects with my homemade net of cheesecloth, coat hanger and broomstick.
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Format: Hardcover
Henri is a normal nineteenth-century boy until he goes to live with his aunt. There he starts to realize that he can speak to insects. But he runs away to the circus to escape his aunt's sinister neighbor, Mrs. Black, who might know his secret.

I liked how this story combined a mystery about Henri's father's disappearance, the mystery of Mrs. Black's motive and powers, and an adventure about life in the circus. There is, of course, a search for a large insect known as the Goliathus Hercules as well.

In the end, I had niggling questions remaining about how some of the magic worked, but I did like IN SEARCH OF GOLIATHUS HERCULES. Few books are so passionate about the insect world, and Jennifer Angus clearly knows her subject.
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