Beetle Boy

Beetle Boy

Beetle Boy
M. G. Leonard

Chicken House Ltd

ISBN 9781910002704

Darkus 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 .

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Reviews

Beetle Boy5/5

Beetle Boy

M. G. Leonard

Review

Beetleboy is the first of a trilogy of books written by debut author M G Leonard who says: 'Ever since I was little I've been frightened of creepy-crawlies. Then I found out that beetles can be pretty, brightly coloured, even gold. Others are as strong as the Incredible Hulk. Some shoot acid out of their butts, and all beetles have wings! My fear had stopped me from seeing how fantastic beetles were, and so I decided to write an adventure with the beetles as the good guys. In the story, we follow Darkus Cuttle who lives alone with his dad, Dr Bartholomew Cuttle (an Entymologist - Professor of beetles!) in London. For several years, they have been grieving the loss of Darkus' mum, both retreating into themselves and just when things start returning to normal Dr Cuttle disappears. The police are at a loss to understand how he could have disappeared from a locked room, inside the Natural History Museum where he worked. After several miserable weeks spent in a foster home, Darkus's Uncle Max returns from working abroad and promises that Darkus can live with him until his father is found. Darkus starts a new school and soon becomes friends with Bertolt, a geek, and Virginia, a tough girl when they rescue him from bullies. He also encounters a beetle who befriends him and seems to understand everything he says. With the help of his new friends and his uncle, Darkus uncovers Lucretia Cutter's (an old university friend of his dad) plot to release intelligent beetles on the world and finally saves his dad and a whole room full of beetles in the process. Brilliantly written with colourful characters, both evil and good, this book will deliver mystery, adventure, several twists, a few explosions and a love of beetles to any reader.

Reviewed by: Kerra Dagley


Beetle Boy5/5

Beetle Boy

M. G. Leonard

Review

For someone who didn't know much about beetles before she started writing this story, M. G. Leonard has acquired a great deal of knowledge very quickly. I had no idea that there were so many, nor indeed that they had so many talents. The story starts with the disappearance of Darkus's father, a renowned professor and Director of Science at the Natural History Museum under mysterious circumstances. Poor Darkus, whose mother had died earlier - why do mothers have to die in so many books? could they not just be away on holiday/work? - has to go to a foster home and a new school before his Uncle Max turns up to look after him. Max is another professor but does his best to make Darkus at home in his cluttered flat above a shop, next to a derelict building owned by two unpleasant brothers. A bright spot for the boy is that a very large beetle appears whom he calls Baxter and who seems to understand him. Max manages to organise a visit to the office in the museum from which his brother disappeared and Darkus, accompanied by Baxter who likes to sit on his shoulder, finds the room is full of cases of dead beetles. Baxter finds glasses belonging to Darkus's father down a heating grating, and the appearance of a yellow ladybird sends Max into a panic and they run for the door. The appearance of Lucretia Cutter, a sponsor of the museum, arriving as they leave, panics Max further but he will not be drawn into why. At his new school Darkus is protected from the bullies by Virginia and Bertolt who decide to help Darkus find his father. This leads them into the secrets of the flat next door where they discover thousands of all variety of beetles, and ultimately to the whereabouts of Darkus’ father and Lucretia Cutter's secret. There is a great deal of humour in this story as well as lots of information about beetles and the making of friendships. Darkus is a resourceful if at times sad figure, but very determined to find his father, aided by his two unusual friends. The properties of the beetles are extraordinary, and the descriptions of them, particularly in the battle scenes at the end are very good. Unusually in a book of this genre the writing is good, there are paragraphs and whole sentences, which are not staccato and end with an exclamation mark! It takes a certain kind of writer to invent a world which is fantastic but seems as you read it to be quite normal, and M. G. Leonard has achieved this in no uncertain fashion. I look forward to the next book which is beside me as I write! Boys and girls of 10 up will laugh and be amazed at Darkus’ story and long for a beetle of their own. I rather like the firefly who adopts Bertolt myself. 311 pages / Ages 9+ years / Reviewed by Janet Fisher, librarian.

Reviewed by: Janet Fisher