cover image The Great Whipplethorp Bug Collection

The Great Whipplethorp Bug Collection

Ben Brashares, illus. by Elizabeth Bergeland. Little, Brown, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-53825-1

With a mix of earnestness and humor, previous collaborators Brashares and Bergeland (Being Edie Is Hard Today) tackle the roles of men and fathers. While unpacking in his family’s new house, Chuck Whipplethorp unearths his entomologist grandfather’s expertly mounted insect collection, assembled at age nine. Chuck’s warm and attentive father lists the achievements of the globe-trotting Whipplethorp men back to Chuck’s great-great-grandfather, a military man and mountain climber who, Brashares writes, “once lost three toes to frostbite on Mount Everest.” Dad has already broken the mold: he works at home as a data analyst, a choice Chuck that calls “boring.” Chuck sets out the next day in search of thrills, but “the tallest peak on Normal Street—a large pile of mulch—offered little chance of frostbitten toes.” Instead, he finds his own Whipplethorp adventure—one that’s uniquely suited to his interests. Pencil-and-watercolor drawings by Bergeland portray Chuck’s house, and the plants and insects around it, in precise, clean lines. There’s a lot to this story, which champions maker culture, charting one’s own path, and changing gender roles: “I’m kind of glad you’re boring. It means you’re around a lot,” says Chuck. “That’s the adventure I always wanted,” replies Dad. Ages 4–8. [em]Agent (for author and illustrator): Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Apr.) [/em]