Ashley Spires, bestselling author of The Most Magnificent Thing, has created an all new cast of personalities in this adorable comic about bugs, a June beetle, in particular.

Burt the watermelon beetle is the main character. He’s a little guy in a big world filled with all kinds of unique creatures that have special talents that others don’t have. He’s trying to figure out where he fits in amongst all the other seemingly super-skilled insects and bugs. He’s not sure that he measures up or what value he brings to the table, but he’s a hard worker and he’s on a mission to figure himself out. It’s no easy feat. He finds himself competing with bugs that are experts at all sorts of things, like being super stingy, having super sight, and being super excited about poop. 

This is a wonderful story and a quick read. It features easy vocabulary even though readers may be hearing about some of these different species for the first time. The author does a marvelous job of simplifying some complicated concepts to easy-to-understand (and often funny) explanations. The reader goes on a journey with Burt, meeting up with all different categories of bugs and learning about the skills that each different creature has. Additionally, there is a section of interesting facts at the end. This section includes hilarious bug cartoons to illustrate the information, making it very fun to read through.

The artwork is colorful with expressive characters and simple pink and red backgrounds. There’s a variety of single panel, full page images, and multiple small panels, which keeps things more interesting for youngsters.

If you are looking for a short read that is witty and full of cute characters, this is the graphic novel for you. This is an excellent addition to any children’s library. It’s full of humor, an attention-holding story, and lots of fun information about the little critters that live all around us. It gives readers a good amount of new knowledge about different kinds of insects and bugs, without getting too detailed and potentially boring. Spires concludes the story with a touching moment when Burt the Beetle finally does find his place and he feels like he truly belongs. Educators will love this book for reluctant readers and to aid in teaching lessons on fitting in, and embracing your unique gifts. 

Burt the Beetle Doesn’t Bite!
By Ashley Spires
Kids Can Press, 2021
ISBN: 9781525301469
Publisher Age Rating: 5-8

NFNT Age Recommendation: Easy Readers (5-9), Middle Grade (7-11), Picture Books (3-8)

  • Kendra


    | She/Her

    Kendra Perkins has worked at libraries in Canada, the U.A.E., China and South Korea where she has been everything from Founding Head Librarian to volunteer. She was Ambassador of China for the International Librarians Network, and she was elected to be Coordinator for the Shanghai Librarians Network (SLN), which is a community of almost 100 library professionals from more than 20 schools. She has completed her ALA accredited Masters in Library and Information Studies program at the University of Alberta. She has traveled to over 90 countries, learned to speak basic Mandarin Chinese along the way and kept up with too many graphic novel series to keep count. She has led workshops, created webinars and done library consultations in fun places like Italy and Hong Kong. She has been a guest blogger for multiple technology and education related websites and is a published book reviewer for Urban Family magazine. Find out more at her website, which she should update more frequently:

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