I read this because a public vote on Twitter, on what I should read next, ended with 'Beetle Boy' being the overwhelming winner. Clearly the book has a lot of fans, and I'm not surprised. 'Beetle Boy' by M.G Leonard is an absolute blast; a funny, mad and hugely enjoyable adventure that makes me appreciate beetles in a whole new way.
Darkus's dad has gone missing from the Natural History Museum. There are no explanations, and after a hounding from the press, Darkus moves to live with his uncle. But befriending what seems to be a highly intelligent beetle sets Darkus off on a wild adventure, which could lead him to finding his dad. A certain Lucretia Cutter, with her creepy fashion empire, may be the only obstacle in Darkus's way to uncover the truth of his father's scientific work.
I enjoyed 'Beetle Boy' immensely. It made me giddy with joy, like being a child again. Comparisons to Roald Dahl are warranted. There are disgusting characters and hideous, creepy villains. Little creatures get a whole life of their own and the spectacular ending is outrageous (with a lot of poo) while being hugely satisfying, like the very best of Dahl's work. But M.G Leonard has her own quirky energy with a deft skill for propelling mystery and a sense of mischief through dialogue and her colourful characters. 'Beetle Boy' bursts with glee and life and energy; crawling into your happy place. It also has a very important message about protecting insect populations, which cannot be overlooked.
While this is being optioned for a TV series (whoop, by the way!) I can also really see this as a Wes Anderson or even Aardman stop-motion animation. It has that sense of fun perfect for the big screen!