Beetle Boy by MG Leonard – book review.
Beetle Boy is a new release from Chicken House, the first in a trilogy by MG Leonard.
It’s Waterstones book of the month for February and exclusive to them until general release in March. And I get to review it! Anyone who likes adventure, bugs, famous 5 style ingenuity, and a bit of good, old fashioned grit and determination should read this book.
The story of Beetle Boy revolves around Darkus, a young boy in search of his dad who has gone missing and supposed dead. Your heart goes out to him right from the start. But far from being a victim caught up in a world where decisions are made for him by adults, Darkus has a self belief to be proud of. He knows his dad is alive, he just needs to find out what happened to him.
With the help of his two oddball friends, Bertolt a scientist in the making and Virginia who displays impeccable manners and a refreshing disregard for the rules. Together they set out to solve the mystery enlisting several armies of beetles.
Forests and Mountains
Heroes and villains abound, some human and some insect but all larger than life. The locations too conjure up pictures in your head. I can almost smell the moss and living ecosystems of Teacup Mountain and Furniture Forest.
Darkus’s sidekick is Baxter a ‘handsome hexapod’ of a rhino beetle. The book introduces scientific terms and phrases in a way that educates without appearing preachy. (‘transgenic’ – anyone?) If you want reasons to explore new worlds of beetle habitats or even practice your Latin then this is it. Beetle Boy contains info on hundreds of types of beetles, each having been accurately researched by the author.
By the middle of the book, so much has happened and you think you know how it may turn out, but one twist after another and every chapter ends with a page turner. With a plot akin to an action thriller Beetle Boy is hard to put down. Make sure you have a beetle spotters’ guide to hand. Or if you want to know your exoskeleton from your elytra there’s a handy entomologists dictionary at the back of the book.
The immense capabilities of beetles leave you impressed, thanks to the attention to detail. Types of wings, Latin words, facts on male vs. female differences, all this and more packaged in humorous dialogue and unique setting.
Darkus’s adventure unfolds against a backdrop of a world where science and nature have been blurred together. This is more true to the reality of the world we already live in than we realize. Hooray! for Darkus and his Dad who both hold a belief in the life changing power of beetles and science.