cover image Beetle Boy

Beetle Boy

M.G. Leonard. Scholastic/Chicken House, $16.99 (228p) ISBN 978-0-545-85346-0

When Dr. Bartholomew Cuttle mysteriously disappears from a windowless vault that contains a rare beetle collection belonging to famous fashion designer Lucretia Cutter, it's up to his 12-year-old son, Darkus, to figure out what happened. The police believe that Dr. Cuttle simple left town, but Darkus knows his father would never abandon him. Living with his eccentric archaeologist Uncle Max, Darkus uncovers clues to his father's dark past with Lucretia, a former geneticist. Darkus develops an unexpected friendship with a rhinoceros beetle he names Baxter, and he eventually learns that Baxter and the other rare beetles understand humans and can work together. It's a skill that Darkus and his best friends, Bertolt and Virginia, take advantage of as they prepare to take on Lucretia and her henchmen. In this first book in a planned trilogy, debut novelist Leonard gives readers a rare glimpse into the world of insects, mixing adventure, mystery, and science and to create a story that's much more than just a novel about bugs. Even the most squeamish will be charmed. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. Agent: Kirsty McLachlan, David Godwin Associates. (Feb.)