The Bug Club

Drawn & Quarterly. Aug. 2021. 56p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781770464155.
Gr 2-5–The author/illustrator of the popular “Disgusting Critters” series explains exactly why she loves bugs so much. Spreads include profiles of individual insects, collections of fun facts, and appealing cartoon illustrations. The conversational, intentionally childlike text strikes a lovely balance between humor and information. A page on the giraffe weevil begins: “I had to draw this insect because, seriously, have you ever seen any cuter critter?” Gravel admits early on that, “I don’t draw very realistic insects,” but the cartoonish images show key features where needed. More important, they inject just the right amount of personality and wit, with insect comments added in word balloons. For example, while text focuses on the scorpion fly’s “scary” appearance and unusual courting behavior, the illustration depicts a happy insect who says, “Well, I’m cute INSIDE.” Gravel shares her enthusiasm in ways that invite readers to join in. She notes that her cool drawing of the inside of a snail (who exclaims, “Hey! Don’t look inside of me! That’s private!”) was the result of a kid’s question and her own follow-up research. Final pages include some musings about bugs in space, fun drawings of “imaginary bugs,” and tips on how kids can observe on their own.
VERDICT Combining facts, humor, and inspiration, this is a quirky and highly engaging work that will speak to readers, even the bug averse.

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