The Bug Girl (a true story) by Sophia Spencer and Margaret McNamara, Illus. by Kerascoët

Review by Jocelyne Gregory

Tundra Books, Penguin Random House, 11 February 2020

44 pages, hardcover, $21.99 CAD, 978-0-73526-752-7

Ages 4-8, Grades Pre K-2

Picture Book, Non-Fiction, Science/Nature

Bugs are cool. They come in all shapes and sizes and patterns. Some can fly and some have more legs then others. What’s not to love about bugs? Sophia Spencer sets out to tell us her story of how a trip to a butterfly conservatory started her on a journey of learning about bugs, and in the process sharing her knowledge with friends, her mom, and classmates. However, that all changes in first grade, when the other students make fun of and bully her for liking bugs, causing Sophia to give up her passion for bugs temporarily. Her determined mother reaches out to entomologists (experts in the bug community) and through them, Sophia discovers that it’s okay to like bugs, no matter what anybody says.

The Bug Girl is filled with fun facts about bugs, like what’s the biggest bug, the smartest, fastest and some of Sophia’s personal favourites. It also contains interesting bug facts like grasshoppers can jump over three feet without using their wings, the Praying Mantis only has one ear, and some ants can live to be thirty years old. There is also a handy how-to guide for studying bugs in a humane and compassionate way.

The illustrations created by husband and wife team Kerascoët are colourful and convey a strong sense of emotion, particularly in the saddest of moments. The drawings of various insects, characters, and plants makes the story come alive with the vividness of nature. Sophia Spencer and co-writer Margaret McNamara bring to life a story that is endearing and encouraging. This would be excellent in a school and public library setting, and even a personal home collection.

The Bug Girl (a true story) will be out February 11, 2020.

Jocelyne Gregory is a UBC MFA creative writing candidate and a graduate of SFU’s The Writer’s Studio. She’s an author and editor and has provided manuscript consultations with the Sechelt Public Library and the Writer’s Studio. A lifelong gamer and fan of comics, she lives on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, Canada.

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