Mighty Mite! Hercufleas by Sam Gayton
He seized up his bead of blood and glug-glug-glugged it down. A wonderful fiery feeling spread through his body. He felt BRAVE. Not like a flea at all. He was a CHAMPION!
Before he knew what he was doing, he leaped onto the table and roared. "Whatever size his enemies, the winner's always HERCUFLEAS!
It's prophetic that the little just-out-of-the-egg flea's first feeding is a tiny bit of lion's blood. He's going to need all the courage he can get.
Restless on his first night as a hatchling, would-be hero, Hercufleas cannot go off to bed like the rest of his fleamily. He wanders restlessly downstairs just as a gargantuan giant taps at their window.
Outside there was a monster.
Its head was the size of his whole fleamily's house-hat, with pale speckled skin and eyes, one green, one brown. Its hair was a tangled mess. A hideously big mouth twisted into a scowl, with rows of square white teeth, each as big as Hecufleas. There was a rumble like thunder as the monster's mouth moved.
But as monsters go, Hercufleas hasn't seen anything yet.
Actually, the "giant" is no monster, just a woefully unkempt orphan girl named Greta, come to beg for help from the self-made demi-hero in defeating the real monster, an actual giant appropriately named Yuk. Yuk is a hideous ogre of insatiable appetite who visits the town of Tumber with every new moon, voraciously guzzling whatever townspeople he can grasp, Greta's parents have vanished into Yuk's maw, and her only hope is to find a fearless hero to help her save what is left of the town.
A quick trip to the magic isle of Avalon with her hostage Hercufleas yields only a magical bird, Artifax, capable of carrying them across the sea and into the Woodn't, a magical but dangerous woodland, over the frozen steppes of the ice-bound Kingdom of Petrossia, to the redoubt of Sir Klaus of the Mouse Kingdom, the ruler whose mission it is to protect all life by guarding the last remaining bit of the Black Death.
Greta and Hercufleas understand the danger of setting the Plague free again upon the Earth, but they are sure it is the only weapon they can use to destroy Yuk and save the remnants of Tumber and Hercufleas' own fleamily. Hercufleas agrees to swallow the deadly blood and give a fatal bite to Yuk. But first, he must win the blood in a deadly duel with Sir Klaus and his enchanted sword.
Author Sam Gayton's forthcoming Hercufleas (Houghton Mifflin Clarion, 2016) pulls out all the stops as his unlikely mini-mite grows in his his improbable quest through loyalty and self-sacrifice and becomes a true hero. There's plenty of off-beat humor, with not a small supply of snot and giant nose-boogers, barely believable characters, and wild twists and turns of plotting that makes for a sure-fire page turner for middle readers with a taste for the disgusting side of hero-hood as well as the glory.