The Bug Club – written and illustrated by Elise Gravel

The Bug Club, written and illustrated by Elise Gravel. Drawn & Quarterly, 2021. 9781770464155

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: PDF review copy

What did you like about the book?  Gravel dreamed of being an entomologist as a child and here she takes her passion and fine cartoonist-eye to introduce us to her favorite kind of animal. This is a playful and scattershot approach to bug study, just right for encouraging kids with a fierce but beginner’s interest. Despite the cuteness of the drawings and conversational tone, Gravel provides lots of solid information on the larger class of invertebrates and how bugs fit into it. We get to learn about the weird ones she loves best (stick insect, stink bug, dung beetle, praying mantis, etc.) and tips for how to look for and study bugs. If you’re not familiar with her art work, prepare to be charmed. Although Gravel uses digital illustration tools, her deceptively simple drawings with earthy colors have a hand-made look that recall the magic marker masterpieces on all of our fridges. Characters (including the bugs) speak in talk bubbles while hand-drawn arrows and labels provide more information.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  This would be perfect for beginning readers who crave funny and appealing nonfiction books; the illustrations would help with the decoding. It would also be appreciated by adults who are asked to read aloud yet another bug book. Because of the scale of the drawings and the many labels, it would be best appreciated one-on-one or in small groups.

Who should buy this book? Elementary and public libraries

Where would you shelve it? 595.7

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: July 17, 2021

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