HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Bug Boy
Author: Carol Sonenklar
Illustrator: Betsy Lewin
Publisher: Yearling, republished 1998
ISBN-13: 978-0805047943 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0805047948 Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-0440414650 Paperback
ISBN-10: 0440414652 Paperback
Related website(s): http://www.bdd.com (publisher)
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8 and up
Rating: **** 4 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Sonenklar, Carol. Bug Boy (Published in 1997 by Henry Holt and Company Inc., 115 W. 18th St., New York City, NY 10011; republished in 1998 by Yearling Books, an imprint of Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc., 1540 Broadway, New York City, NY 10036). Charlie Kaplan, a student in Mrs. Greene’s third grade class McDowell Elementary School, lives with his parents, younger sister Lucy, yellow tabby cat Blanche, and pet cobweb spider Spidey. Charlie thinks that bugs are the greatest—whether praying mantises, spiders, stinkbugs, or grasshoppers—and is always on a Bug Alert for crawly creatures. The kids call him “Bug Boy.” His best friend at school has been Suzanne Dimarian, and she used to watch bugs with him, but now she hangs out with a couple of other bossy girls who hate insects.
One day, Charlie receives the Amazing Bug-A-View in the mail and first thinks that it’s a joke. Then he notices that it says, “See the world from a bug’s-eye view,” and he finds that he can actually turn into an arachnid—or any other kind of creepy crawly critter. However, after a couple of close calls as a grasshopper and a fly, Charlie decides not to be a bug any more. Not long after that, Charlie’s friend, Professor Heidi MacIntosh who’s a real entomologist from the local university, comes to the school to make a special presentation. During a moment of confusion, her stinkbug escapes, so Charlie secretly uses his Bug-A-View to become Spidey again and, using his spider sense, try to rescue the stinkbug.
Is Charlie successful at finding the missing bombardier beetle? Can he get changed back into a boy in time, or does someone step on him first? And where did that Amazing Bug-A-View come from? Charlie’s adventures make for a fast-paced, lively story line. The short, action-packed chapters have different typefaces depending on whether Charlie is bug or boy and will entice reluctant readers. The book will have special appeal to any children who have taken a topic like baseball, ballet, or especially bugs to heart. Facts about insects are woven into the funny, breezy narrative, and the black-ink sketches add interest to the bug’s-eye view of the world.