Bug Scouts: Out in the Wild! by Mike Lowery. Graphix, Scholastic, 2022. 9781338726329
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Format: Paperback ARC (publication date 5/3/22) graphic novel/early reader
What did you like about the book? Bug Club members include Doug (some kind of bug), Abby (a worm), Josh (a spider), and newest member, Luna the lightning bug. Doug is the leader, Abby is badge-crazy, Josh is a grump, and Luna is the naif. Short chapters tell of their adventures in the woods as they prepare to master the skills needed for their Practical Plants badge. There’s lots of visual gags and funny bits in the adventure, with each member filling a niche in the humorous proceedings. Being mostly bugs, they almost get eaten by a frog, but luckily the little band is saved by one of Josh’s well-placed hammocks (actually a sticky web). The artwork was trademark Lowery: sophisticated and funny, but deceptively kid-like. Small details, like the looks on the Bug Club members’ faces as they interact, the drawings of actual plants, and the frog diagram, were charming. All of the story is told in either talk bubbles or clever insets with the font for dialog having a lively, hand-drawn look that effortlessly changes size and thickness to express emotion. The official Bug Scout oath appears toward the beginning of the book and includes useful admonishments such as “Bugs are awesome and that’s a fact!” and “I pledge to be brave and adventurous too!”
Anything you didn’t like about it? There’s a bit of bug and plant information, but probably not enough to satisfy true bug fanatics. I thought it was odd that all the Bug Club members are presented with their scientific Latin names except for Doug, who is identified with the label: somekindicus bugicus. Why not just pick a real bug name? Also, only Doug and Luna are actually bugs; spiders and worms belong to a different animal family.
To whom would you recommend this book? With its terrific artwork, cute characters, lack of bathroom humor, and bright colors, this graphic novel early reader will be just right for kids who have mastered reading basics but aren’t quite ready for chapter books. Kids in scouting may also be interested as will fans of Dav Pilkey, Terrance Crawford, and Brian “Smitty” Smith.
Who should buy this book? Elementary schools and public libraries
Where would you shelve it? Early readers
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: June 26, 2022