Budding entomologist Max Darwin makes a wish—and finds himself on Bug Island, where the local insects are threatened by an invasion of hungry reptiles and amphibians.
With little preliminary ado, Patton hands his young protagonist a fascinating old insect encyclopedia and a very special magnifying glass that shrinks him to proper size and plunks him down amid Bug Island’s beleaguered arthropods. It seems a volcanic eruption has laid a land bridge between the island and the neighboring Reptilian Empire—allowing a horde of insect-eating creatures led by roaring Gen. Komodo to cross over. Can Max use his big brain to find a way to save new friends Barton, a titan beetle, genial emperor scorpion Spike, shy trap-door spider Webster, and the rest of the island’s diverse cast of six- or eight-legged residents from becoming a buggy banquet? And will he be able to get back to his original size and home? That would be yes and yes—following plenty of furious but fatality-free fighting and some ingenious further bridge building that puts a river between the bugs and their scaly nemeses. But the war’s not over yet; stay tuned for return visits in two planned sequels. Finished illustrations not seen, but in samples, Bean draws Max as a dark-skinned, black-haired boy.
Furnished with a light wash of natural science, a buggy, action-oriented adventure that goes light on the gore and gross bits. (Fantasy. 8-10)