Beetle Boy by M.G. Leonard

For months now I’ve been hearing lots of good things about Beetle Boy, the debut children’s novel from M.G. Leonard.  My Twitter feed has been full of people raving about this hot new book.  Sometimes I get sceptical when there is lots of publicity for a new book and it’s in your face all the time, but I was intrigued by Beetle Boy and reserved it at my library.  It is one of those books that totally deserves all the hype and is sure to be a hit with all ages.

Beetle BoyDarkus is miserable. His dad has disappeared, and now he is living next door to the most disgusting neighbours ever. A giant beetle called Baxter comes to his rescue. But can the two solve the mystery of his dad’s disappearance, especially when links emerge to cruel Lucretia Cutter and her penchant for beetle jewellery? A coffee-mug mountain, home to a million insects, could provide the answer – if Darkus and Baxter are brave enough to find it.

Beetle Boy is absolutely terrific! It is an irresistible and iridescent read, that’s chock full of fascinating characters and beetles of every kind.  It is one of the best mystery stories for kids that I’ve read in a long time.  You get picked up by a swarm of beetles and taken on a thrilling, action-packed ride.

You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of books about beetles on hand when you read this book.  There are so many different beetles mentioned in the story, some with really cool abilities and others that just look beautiful. Blister beetles, with their ability to shoot acid, sound terrifying.  Reading this story made me want to go out and find out more about beetles, so I’ve been reserving books at the library and looking at some great websites about beetles.  My favourite part of the book was the battle plan that involved all the different beetles and their strengths.

The thing I enjoyed most about Beetle Boy was the cast of fascinating characters who have fantastic names.  Darkus is a hero that all kids can relate to and will all want to be (who wouldn’t want to have a rhinoceros beetle called Baxter!).  Darkus is joined in his quest to find his father by his new friends Bertolt and Virginia, who are both incredibly loyal.  Then there is the villain of the story, Lucretia Cutter, a rich fashion designer with a terrible secret.  Probably my two favourite characters are Humphrey and Pickering, because they’re two bumbling idiots who are disgusting and a little bit nasty.  My award for the best character names would have to go to Lucretia’s henchmen, Craven and Dankish.

Cover and spine – Not only is the story terrific, but the outside of the book is gorgeous too.  The bright orange cover showing a large beetle on a boys head is really eye-catching and makes you want to find out what the book is about.  Then, when you turn the book around, there are colourful beetles crawling up the side of the book.

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Beetle Boy is a must-read.  I know that kids and adults alike will gobble it up.  There are two more books coming in the trilogy and I certainly can’t wait to find out what happens next!

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