Thursday, May 06, 2010

Booking A Date: The Gentleman Bug by Julian Hector

Once there was a garden full of bugs.

One of them was a Gentleman Bug.

He taught a class and loved to read.

Now, there were other bugs who liked to make fun of the Gentleman Bug for reading all the time.

But he never seemed to mind.

But when a posh Lady Bug arrives in town, she is a social sensation, and the Gentleman Bug is totally smitten. Hoping to attract her eye, he shucks his outdoorsy Boy Guide-Master uniform for the dress of a dandy--cutaway coat, striped trousers, cravat, white vest, and top hat--and attends the elegant tea dance given in her ladyship's honor. But his hopes for the ball are unrequited:

When the Gentleman Bug entered, everyone was very impressed.

Everyone, that is, except the Lady Bug.

Despairing, the Gentleman Bug returns to his quiet but lonely life. Then, when a new library has its grand opening, he is drawn by his love for books to attend. And whom do you think is the new librarian? Yes, the Lady Bug, and this time she sees the Gentleman Bug for what he really is--a kindred soul. She approaches and offers an opportunity he cannot refuse.

"May I give you a tour of my library?"

Julian Hector's newest, The Gentleman Bug (Atheneum, 2010) creates an intriguing and inviting little Edwardian town, lovingly mapped in the endpapers, with cozy names such as Bugadilly Circus and with cleverly costumed insects of various types in charming little vignettes. With its gentle droll humor and low-key story of love lost and found at the library, it is a fine choice for Children's Book Week story time and any time a quiet but satisfying story is needed.

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