Beetle Boy by M G Leonard
Published by Chicken House Books
Amazing, fascinating, riveting story. I found this book hard to put aside once I started reading. It is filled with mystery, intrigue, adventure, secrets & astounding information into the world of beetles. I loved the Entomologist’s Dictionary on pages 313-318 & the book gave a greater personal insight into MG’s mind after reading the acknowledgements. I appreciated the beetles painted on the side of the book as a fascinating addition.
Darkus was 13 years old when his Dad, Dr Bartholomew Cuttle, disappeared.
Five years earlier his Mum had died suddenly with pneumonia. His dad had been grief stricken, but Darkus knew everyone was wrong when they said he had been abandoned by his dad. That was also what his Uncle Max, Dad’s Brother, Professor Maximilian Cuttle believed too when he returned from Egypt to look after his nephew.
Uncle Max lived in a flat above a health food store in a parade of shops in London. Uncle Max had no children so Darkus’s bedroom was his uncles’ old filing room at the top of the flat. Instead of a bed (because one was not available & would not fit anyway) Uncle Max hung a hammock from the ceiling above the filing cabinets. Darkus was delighted with this arrangement.
On his first day at his new school, Darkus was appointed a girl named Virginia Wallace to look after him & along with a boy named Bertolt Roberts, the three became friends. Darkus did not like being in his Uncles flat when he was alone, so Darkus would wait his time out reading comics & watching the neighbourhood from the launderette across the road until his Uncle came home from work.
It was that first afternoon after school that their neighbours from the boarded up emporium next door, burst out into the street arguing. The cousins’ had inherited the building but one wanted to sell antiques & the other wanted to sell pies. As they could not agree on its use, the emporium had stayed closed for 5 years. It was when the cousins burst out into the street squabbling & fighting, that Darkus got to see the huge beetle as it dropped out of the leg of one cousin’s trouser legs. Darkus realised it was the same beetle he had seen on the skylight on his first night at Uncle Max’s. The beetle seemed to want to stay with Darkus & Darkus was certain the beetle understood him when he spoke to it. Darkus suddenly realised he liked beetles & named his new pet Baxter. It was when his Uncle came home that Darkus learned his father had been obsessed with beetles when he was a young boy & had become a beetle entomologist after college whilst Uncle Max had become an archaeologist. Uncle Max gave Darkus a Beetle Collector’s Handbook & when he looked inside, he discovered it had the name of Bartholomew Cutter age 9 written inside the front cover. It had been his dad’s.
It was when Darkus was at school the next day telling his new found friends Virginia & Bertolt about what had happened that the adventures really started to happen.
I wait with baited breath for the next book “BEETLE QUEEN” as the story continues.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Will Mabbitt
Title: Beetle Boy
Publisher: Chicken House Books
Published: March 2016