THE BUG GIRL by Sophia Spencer


A True Story
Age Range: 5 - 8
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A fourth grade girl tells how her mother helped her change from being bullied to being celebrated—for her love of bugs.

Sophia’s voice is conversational as she relates how she became entranced by butterflies in a butterfly conservatory at the age of 2½. She keeps the same tone throughout, whether she is mentioning that bugs are important to the world or that she had a thriving bug club until, in first grade, all the other children lost interest in bugs. Explaining that at first she doesn't mind being ridiculed by classmates for her entomological enthusiasm, Sophia matter-of-factly delivers the chilling, game-changing anecdote: She brought a grasshopper to school one day, and “they knocked that beautiful grasshopper off my shoulder and stomped on it till it was dead.” She went home and cried, and her single mother offered her comfort but apparently did not report the bullying to the school. Eventually, her mother does come up with a brilliant solution: she contacts entomologists for help. After emails and postcards pour in, Canadian media outlets pick up the story. Sophia modestly asserts her goal: “I wanted to get the word out that it’s okay to love bugs.” The excellent, loosely outlined watercolor illustrations depict Sophia and her mom as white with background racial diversity, and they complement the gentle textual humor. Final pages offer further, mostly accurate bug information. (Many would disagree that there are only “two major types of arthropods.”)

Inspirational for young naturalists. (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 11th, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-525-64593-1
Page count: 44pp
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2019


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