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Beetle Boy (The Battle of the Beetles) Paperback – March 3, 2016
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A Spring 2016 Kids' Indie Next List pick
* "Debut novelist Leonard gives readers a rare glimpse into the world of insects, mixing adventure, mystery, and science to create a story that's much more than just a novel about bugs. Even the most squeamish will be charmed." --Publishers Weekly, starred review
"I loved Beetle Boy. It is at once engaging, creepy (bound to be), funny and full of excitement. Truly great storytelling." --Micharl Morpurgo, author of War Horse
"Engaging . . . The story moves quickly, and the characters are both wacky and entertaining. Educators looking for fiction that connects to and supports science curricula may find a new favorite in this" --School Library Journal
"Leonard unravels the madcap plot in sporadic bursts of frenzied action and humor. Overall, a charming and (at times) affecting romp through beetle land." --Kirkus Reviews
"Fans of madcap adventures and anthropomorphised sidekicks will enjoy this fast-paced series opener." --Booklist
"Hand this to students who like to laugh and who like their mysteries combined with adventure." --School Library Connection
"If I didn't already devote most of my waking hours to beetles, reading this book would make me want to . . . " --Max Barclay, Coleoptera Collections Manager, Natural History Museum, London
"M.G. Leonard does a fantastic job weaving a page turning mystery with cool facts about science and bugs . . . If you love Roald Dahl, Lemony Snickett, or even 101 Dalmatians you are truly going to enjoy this book." --YA and Kids Books Central (online)
"[M.G. Leonard's] dialogue is dark and punchy and her plot thrilling; by the end you can do nothing but hail her as an original new voice in children's literature. I predict Beetle-mania." --The Times (UK)
"What really makes this book memorable is the supporting cast, researched in fascinating detail . . . The discovery that a seemingly powerless band of creatures can be possessed of such skill, beauty, and strength should keep this gem on many a bedroom and library shelf for years to come." --The Guardian (UK)
"Leonard's rich storytelling channels the spirit of classic children's fiction with a wholly original slant . . . It's a cracking mystery adventure, with plenty of Roald Dahl-esque humor to engage readers . . . A truly exciting debut." --The Bookseller (UK)
"Parents be warned: this enchanting story is likely to make beetles very popular pets." --Daily Telegraph (UK)
"If you've always regarded beetles as something unpleasant to be chased away from picnics, then this romp of a mystery thriller may change your attitude . . . . By the end young readers will have absorbed a huge amount of information on this resilient species." --Daily Mail (UK)
"Perfect for fans of Roald Dahl." --Booktrust (UK)
"A detective story with a twist, this is an exciting and original story that will appeal equally to boys and girls and -- if I'm anything to go by -- to any adult who loves a cracking story. Prepare for the Battle of the Beetles!" --The Bookbag (online)
From the Inside Flap
A mysterious disappearance
Darkus Cuttle’s dad is missing. Vanished from a locked room!
Darkus moves in with his eccentric Uncle Max and next door to Humphrey and Pickering, two horrible cousins with an enormous beetle infestation.
Darkus quickly discovers that the beetles are anything but ordinary. They’re an amazing, intelligent, super species and they could be the key to finding his dad. But Darkus and his new friends are up against a terrifying villainmad scientist of fashion Lucretia Cutter and she won't let anyone or anything get in her way!
The first book of a trilogy, Beetle Boy is a darkly hilarious adventure full of exotic beetles, daring schemes, and true friendship.
Top customer reviews
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Beetle Boy is a fast paced read filled with genuine peril, gross bug moments, and a truly memorable villain. Darkus is an intrepid hero and I loved the gang he assembled. Their willingness to overcome their fears and dive right into dangerous situations will ensure that young readers will remain glued to the page. Who would have ever thought that a beetle could be so charming? Baxter will have everyone wishing for their own personal beetle and looking at some creepy crawlies in a brand new light.
Beetle Boy contains a surprising amount of heart to go with some expertly paced action and is an enthusiastic recommend for grades 4 and up.
My favorite character is Baxter. He is always very helpful in times of need and eventually helped lead the rest of the Beetle Army to victory. I wish that I could have a little beetle sitting on my shoulder that could think like a human and help me!
This book is mainly about family, friends, and loyalty. Family; because Darkus was persistent in trying to find his dad. Friends; because Virginia, Bertolt, and Baxter were by his side helping him and working together. And finally, loyalty. Darkus, his friends, his Uncle Max, and Baxter all were by each other’s side and didn’t let each other down.
I recommend this book for boys and girls ages 9-12. I gave the book 5 stars, since it had an interesting plot, complex characters, and made me want to read more! This book is a medium- sized novel. It is 270 pages long and there is also a sequel called, “Revenge of the Beetle Queen!" I can’t wait to read it!
Review by Brooke Z.,10, Delaware Valley Mensa
Though there were a few “slow” spots, this is a clever, fun and funny story aimed squarely at boys in grades 3-7. It’s strongly science based, but with plenty of humor and imagination and a strong mystery element thrown in as well.
My son’s review was: “awesome, everyone should read it,” and as a mom, I mostly agree. Not necessarily destined to be a childhood classic, this has lots to offer, though I wish it wasn’t quite so boy-centric.
When Dr. Bartholomew Cuttle, Director of Science at the Natural History Museum, mysteriously goes missing, his thirteen-year old son Darkus knows something is wrong. Dr. Maximillian Cuttle, his uncle, returns from Egypt and opens his home, including giving up his cluttered study to be used by Darkus as his bedroom. As they work together to clear out a multitude of boxes and papers, Darkus discovers a stack of folders labeled “The Fabre Project”. As they work to clear the room, Darkus notices a large black rhinoceros beetle he eventually befriends and names Baxter. Baxter will play a major role in the events that propel the story forward and will enlist an army of beetles in the exciting final chapters of the book.
M. G. Leonard has written an intriguing story. Filled with excitement, humor, “Beetle Boy” includes educational elements – particularly relating to different beetles - so subtly woven into the text that the reader does not realize they are learning something. Issues such as genetic engineering, cross-species breeding, and ecology and the environment play important roles in the novel.
Characters are relatable – Darkus and his friends Virginia and Bertolt are those ‘tweens who are outside the popular circle, but who support and encourage one another. The villainous Madame Lucretia Cutter – formerly Lucy Johnstone – is a Cruella devil of bugs. Her source for the beetles she is seeking, cousins Humphrey and Pickering are like the buffoonish thieves Horace and Jasper Badun in Disney’s “101 Dalmations”. Madame Cutter’s daughter Novak evolves from an unappealing character to one for whom the reader feels pity.
“Beetle Boy” should appeal to many ‘tween readers, particularly those who are interested in science. It is also a good bedtime read-aloud for primary-school aged children. The characters are varied in personality and motivation. Strong, independent female characters, whether good or villainous, are as important as the male characters. The story is exciting and moves at a rapid pace; this is not a difficult book to read and enjoy. Language and situations are appropriate for any age reader or listener. However, if reading this book aloud, you may want to "edit some of the exclamations which are mild, but not what one wants a child to use.
I enjoyed “Beetle Boy” as much as my grandson to whom I read the book. In fact, he liked it so much he had me read almost continuously until we finished the book. This is the first book without illustrations that he has been willing to have read in its entirety. We look forward to the other two books in M. G. Leonard’s trilogy. My grandson has already started asking questions about the plot and character hierarchy of "Beetle Queen".
Most recent customer reviews
Submited by Dennis K. (age 11)