Mike Lowery’s distinctive art style can be seen in a wide variety of formats, including popular picture books, graphic novels, and activity books. Scholastic Graphix, which has been a forerunner in the comics market for kids, from the ground-breaking Bone to the record-breaking sales of Dog Man, is now expanding into beginning chapters with Graphix Chapters. The two are a natural fit and Mike Lowery’s new series, Bug Scouts, is a wonderful addition to the ever-growing options for beginning chapter readers who love comics.

Meet the Bug Scouts! Doug is “some kind of bug” with a spherical blue body, wings, antennae, and a cheerful disposition. Abby is a worm who loves books, dirt, and Bug Badges (she really REALLY loves getting Bug Badges!). The third, and reluctant, member of the Bug Scouts is Josh, a grouchy spider who only likes snacks. Doug and Abby are welcoming a new Bug Scout, Luna, a bug who looks rather like a miniature Doug, but with extra glow, since she’s a lightning bug. Chapter one ends with the Bug Scout Oath and the friends are ready for adventure in the next chapter. Together they go on a hike, earn some bug badges, have a frightening encounter with a frog, and even Josh ends up participating.

Lowery’s art, which is blocky with bold lines, shows to great advantage in an early reader or beginning chapter. The large, bold font and simple shapes make it easy for kids to follow the story and keep the characters straight. Their emotions are shown with grins, smiles, or frowns, nervous sparks of sweat, and lots of exclamation points, to show how excited most of the Bug Scouts are (just not Josh). The friends search through an imaginary forest, collecting plants and encountering various other creatures, but it’s clear that it’s a cartoon world. The galley provided by the publisher was in partial color, showing an array of muted, natural colors from a variety of greens to the bold blue of Doug and Luna, and not forgetting browns, oranges, and soft reds.

At under 60 pages, with short, simple sentences, this humorous offering is just right for readers transitioning into chapter books and more complex graphic novels. Readers who love Elephant and Piggie and Scholastic’s Acorn imprint will gravitate naturally to this, although kids who prefer more facts in their reading will want to stick to Elise Gravel’s Arlo & Pips or Anstee’s Shelby & Watts for a more informational experience. Readers who aren’t ready for Dav Pilkey will also appreciate this goofy adventure and it will tie in nicely to outdoor programming and activities.

Bug Scouts, vol. 1: Out in the wild!
By Mike Lowery
Scholastic GRAPHIX, 2022
ISBN: 9781338726336

Publisher Age Rating: grade 1-3

NFNT Age Recommendation: Easy Readers (5-9)

  • Jennifer

    | She/Her Youth Services Librarian, Matheson Memorial Library

    Reviewer

    Jennifer Wharton is the Youth Services Librarian at Matheson Memorial Library in Elkhorn, Wisconsin where she maintains the juvenile and young adult graphic novel collections and was responsible for creating the library’s adult graphic novel collection. She is constantly looking for great new comics for kids and teens and new ways to incorporate graphic storytelling in programming. Jennifer blogs for preschool through middle grade at JeanLittleLibrary and has an MLS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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