cover image Bugs!


David T. Greenberg. Megan Tingley Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-316-32574-5

Greenberg (Slugs) once again indulges a child's delight in yuckiness, this time with bugs (e.g., instead of putting slugs in a blender, this time Greenberg advises grinding stink bugs in a pepper mill). For dinner he suggests that ""praying mantis pizza/ Is a culinary must,"" or, for the not so faint of heart, ""try millipedes for dental floss,/ Feel them scrape away the moss."" Like Slugs, Bugs ends with the cunning victims turning the tables, and pinning the erstwhile hero to the wall in a permanent Human Being Collection. While Greenberg's distinctive, outre humor and plot in both books are similar, Munsinger's (The Tale of Custard the Dragon) clever illustrations take a different tack, focusing the action on a single perplexed, cheerful boy and his adoring terrier. In one climactic spread, ""Bugs with pincers, claws, and hair,/ Bugs much fiercer than a bear"", an army of bugs in sci-fi proportion pursue the outsized grizzly who's after the boy (and the tail of his terrier) in a diagonal chase across the pages. Throughout, the boy possesses an innocence that belies the text. But by its conclusion, young bugwatchers will be wise to the grossly fun puns (though they may think twice before barbecuing spit bugs). Ages 4-8. (Sept.)