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The Bug Barians®: Adventures In City Park Paperback – August 15, 2011
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
From the Author
We have really hope children enjoy reading The Bug Barians® as much as we enjoyed creating them. From the moment of inspiration while walking in one of Los Angeles' parks to finally holding the actual book in hand, the entire process has been one big learning experience. We thank any- and everyone- who takes the time to have a look at the book and we hope that kids everywhere get chance to jump into the world of "The Bug Barians®" All they need is a sense of adventure and a good gust of wind. The rest will take care of itself.
About the Author
Marty Byk is a long time Television Writer & Producer. He currently spends his time freelancing at Hallmark Channel and other family friendly ventures. "The Bug Barians®" began it's life as an idea for a children's animated series but the little buggers decided that they'd rather come out as a book instead. And how can you argue with a bunch of little bugs in Viking helmets? You can't. They can make things rather difficult if you get on their wrong side.
Top customer reviews
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I love the pictures because they are very bright and colourful. I like the picture of the Leaf Erikson the best because it's pretty. My favorite bug is Thor the aphid because he's the smallest and the cutest. My favorite part of the story is when the duck flaps its wings and they end up flying through the air. That sounded like fun. I want to fly too. In the picture of the duck, the letter `d' looks more like an `o' so it looks like it says `ouck'! I really liked the book. I think kids 3 years and older would like this book.
Author Marty Byk and illustrator JoAnn DiMaggio have created an original, quirky cast of viking bug characters who embark on a series of adventures. The Bug Barians each have a unique name and personality to match. For example there is Clonk the Clonkerer - he is the clumsy one and The Mighty Huntoon, their fearless leader. There is even a representation of diversity with the inclusion of a Jamaican Bug Barian named Eddik the Dread and a female Bug Barian, (Flo) who is portrayed in a non gender stereotypical way (i.e., she uses her muscular strength to save herself and her friends).
The illustrations are absolutely amazing. Each of the Bug Barians has their own unique look. I think their depiction of "viking bugs" is very kid-friendly and really very well done. My only complaint in this respect is that, at least in the version I have, the illustrations did not necessarily go with the text. Rather, the illustrations were evenly distributed throughout the text. So, for example, the illustration of the cleverly named boat, the "Leaf Erikson", appears on page 21, but it is first mentioned on page 8. This may only be the case in my review copy however.
With respect to the characters and the illustrations, I think that this series demonstrates much potential in developing into a children's book series that young children will surely enjoy. I say "potential" because I did have a few issues with the book. The biggest issue I had with the book is that it did not have a clear start, middle, and end. I felt that we met the Bug Barians in the middle of an adventure and they then go on to have a series of other "mini-adventures". The book ends with a promise of more adventure. In addition, the text was quite lengthy for young children and even my son (who is 6) sometimes lost concentration as I read the story.
In essence, it felt like the purpose of the book was more to introduce the characters rather than to have one continuous and engaging story. That being said, the introduction of John Gabriel, the human boy who indicates he knows the Bug Barians (but did not directly interact with them in this story), did seem out of place in the story. The end result of not having a clear storyline is that I could not pull out a clear underlying message other than the importance of camaraderie and kinship as demonstrated amongst the Bug Barians and the spirit of adventure.
I do have to mention that there is a lot of onomatopoeia included in the text, which is GREAT when you are reading the book out loud to children. My only complaint is that some of the onomatopoeia does not match what you would hear in the real world. For example, the squirrel roars ("ROOOARRR!") and the pet aphid Thor barks ("RUFF! RUFF!"). Perhaps the author meant for this to be absurd and for kids to giggle about. Well, the duck does "quack"!
My Bottom Line:
The Bug Barians features a wonderfully-illustrated and highly original cast of viking bugs who embark on a series of (mis)adventures in the City Park. The purpose of the first book in the series is primarily to introduce us to the six main Bug Barians; and, I did feel that a solid plot line was missing in this book. Despite this shortcoming, I do think that this book series has a great deal of potential in entertaining children 5 years and older. After all, my 6 year-old did say he really liked it!
* This book was provided to us by the author free-of-charge in exchange for our honest review.*