Beetle Boy

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Beetle Boy
AuthorM. G. Leonard
CountryUS, UK
SeriesBeetle Trilogy
GenreChildren's books
PublisherScholastic, The Chicken House
Published in English
23 February 2016
Media typePrint (hardback)

Beetle Boy is a middle grade novel published in 2016 by The Chicken House in the United Kingdom and Scholastic in the US. It was written by M. G. Leonard[1] and illustrated by Júlia Sardà.[2]

It is the first part of a trilogy, as volume 1 of the Beetle Trilogy series.[3] Beetle Queen, the second part of the trilogy, was published in April 2017 in the UK and the third part Battle of the Beetles is published in February 2018. Beetle Boy won the Branford Boase Award in 2017, for outstanding first novel for children.

Plot and characters[edit]

Kirkus Reviews summarises the plot as "a young teen searches for his father with the assistance of unusual beetles." The book stars Darkus Cuttle, who moves in with his uncle after the disappearance of his father.[3]


The Guardian in a review of Beetle Boy wrote "Why it has taken them this long to get starring roles in a children's book is a mystery, although their appeal to younger readers is not." and concluded "The discovery that a seemingly powerless band of creatures so small and seemingly powerless can be possessed of such skill, beauty and strength should keep this gem on many a bedroom and library shelf for years to come."[4] School Library Journal called it "An engaging story" and concluded " Educators looking for fiction that connects to and supports science curricula may find a new favorite in this."[5] Booktrust found it "a wonderfully funny and engaging book, which is full of action, adventure and delightful illustrations." and "Perfect for fans of Roald Dahl."[6]

Beetle Boy has also been reviewed by Booklist,[7] Horn Book Guide,[8] School Library Connection,[9] Kirkus Reviews,[10] Publishers Weekly,[11] and AudioFile.[12]

Beetle Boy has been licensed to over thirty-seven international territories, becoming a best-seller in the UK and the Netherlands. It has been nominated for a number of UK literary awards including the 2017 CILIP Carnegie Medal[13] and the UKLA award.[14] Julia Eccleshare chose it as one of the Best Children's Books of 2016 in The Guardian[15] and The Telegraph included it in "The 50 Best Books for Christmas 2016"[16] and in its "Best Children's Books of 2016".[17]

In America, Publishers Weekly selected Beetle Boy as one of the Best Twenty Middle Grade Books of 2016[18] and the New York Public Library chose it as one of the Best Books for Kids 2016.[19]


  1. ^ "Beetle Boy". Publishers Weekly. 28 March 2016. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  2. ^ Torday, Piers (19 March 2016), "Beetle Boy by MG Leonard review – a fizzing, delightful debut", The Guardian, retrieved 29 December 2016
  3. ^ a b "BEETLE BOY – KIRKUS REVIEW". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 29 December 2016. Five years after the death of his mother, 13-year-old Darkus Cuttle must confront the disappearance of his father. As the media frenzy and police investigation wind down, the boy moves in with his eccentric explorer uncle…
  4. ^ Torday, Piers (19 March 2016). "Beetle Boy by MG Leonard review – a fizzing, delightful debut". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Beetle Boy: Reviews". Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Beetle Boy". Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  7. ^ "Beetle Boy: Reviews". Retrieved 2 January 2017. Fans of madcap adventures and anthropomorphised sidekicks will enjoy this fast-paced series opener.
  8. ^ "Beetle Boy: Reviews". Retrieved 2 January 2017. funny, fascinating, and unsettlingly insect-ridden sci-fi adventure.
  9. ^ "Beetle Boy: Reviews". Retrieved 2 January 2017. Hand this to students who like to laugh and who like their mysteries combined with adventure.
  10. ^ "Beetle Boy". Kirkus Reviews. Kirkus Media LLC. 3 November 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2017. Overall, a charming and (at times) affecting romp through beetle land.
  11. ^ "Beetle Boy (starred review)". Publishers Weekly. PWxyz LLC. 28 March 2016. Retrieved 2 January 2017. 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.
  12. ^ "Beetle Boy (audio book)". September 2016. Retrieved 2 January 2017. Author-narrator M.G. Leonard's energetic delivery aptly conveys the story .. Listeners will enjoy these unusual characters and learn about beetles in this satisfying adventure.
  13. ^ "Press The CILIP Carnegie Medal Nominations for 2017". Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  14. ^ "UKLA Book Awards 2017 Longlists". Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  15. ^ Eccleshare, Julia (3 December 2016). "The best children's books of 2016". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  16. ^ "The 50 best books for Christmas 2016". The Telegraph. 9 December 2016. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  17. ^ "Best children's books of 2016". The Telegraph. 8 April 2016. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  18. ^ "Best Books 2016 – Middle Grade". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  19. ^ "Best Books for Kids". The New York Public Library. Retrieved 29 December 2016.