This week we’re spotlighting one of our favorite new early reader series: Battle Bugs!
What is Battle Bugs?
Battle Bugs is an action-packed new series by Jack Patton designed for any kid who has a fascination with creepy-crawly bugs. There are currently six books in the series with a seventh due to be released in the spring.
The main character of the series is Max, a bug enthusiast. One day Max’s mom gives him a very old bug encyclopedia which, he soon finds, has the power to transport him to another world called Bug Island. On Bug Island, Max is tiny—bug size—and the bugs are HUGE! But they’re in trouble, and Max’s human-sized brain helps them as they continually defend their home against attacks from the nearby Reptilian Empire.
Are you hooked yet? Not quite? Keep reading.
Although we at blue manatee classify Battle Bugs as an early reader series, it could also be thought of as early-middle—a bridge for early readers to slightly more complex middle reader books. According to Scholastic (the publisher), Battle Bugs appeals mainly to 2nd- and 3rd-grade readers and is at a Grade 4 reading level. But you could also view this series as appropriate for a particularly advanced first-grader, or a fourth-grader who needs a little reading confidence boost. It works on multiple levels! (No pun intended.)
Why else do we like it?
Let us tell you.
1. It’s educational. If you have a young reader who is interested in bugs, or even animals or nature in general, this series is a veritable gold mine! Beetles, spiders, scorpions, bees, walking sticks, millipedes, ants… and that’s just a few of the bugs mentioned. You’ll also come across snakes, lizards, frogs, and other such creatures. Max shares his impressive knowledge of different bug species with the reader throughout, and at the end of each book is a short section called “Real-Life Battle Bugs” with information about some of the bugs mentioned in the story.
But wait—we don’t want you to think Battle Bugs is so educational it’s boring! In addition to being informative…
2. It’s exciting! There’s always something to do on Bug Island! In each book, the poor bugs find themselves faced with some new threat from the Reptilian Empire—and it’s up to Max to save them, every time. Whether he’s helping them defend against poison dart frogs or building a fortress to keep the reptiles out, Max’s visits to Bug Island are anything but dull.
3. It’s imaginative. Reading books that stretch the imagination is like exercise for your brain. Battle Bugs is oddly reminiscent of another, somewhat bizarre work of children’s fiction: Alice in Wonderland. Shrinking to a tiny size, being transported to another world (and having to somehow save it), animals that talk to humans… An odd comparison, perhaps, but it works.
4. It’s full of interesting characters. Aside from smart, quick-thinking Max, you’ll meet a friendly scorpion named Spike; an impressive beetle named Barton; a hardworking hornet named Buzz; and the fearsome leader of the lizards, General Komodo, to name a few. Each character has a distinct personality, and most of them have special skills based on their bug or reptile species.
5. It appeals to a wide audience. We mentioned this earlier: the reading level of this series makes it suitable for a range of ages, from advanced first graders to struggling fourth graders.
6. It’s NOT all bugs, all the time. Although we spend the bulk of our time on Bug Island with Max, this series is ultimately grounded in the “real world.” At the beginning and end of each book, we get a sense for what Max’s life is like when he’s not on Bug Island—his relationship with his parents, his struggles and triumphs at school, his time on the basketball court. While Max has extraordinary adventures on Bug Island, in his normal life he faces much more common, recognizable problems.
Have we convinced you yet? Come on in to blue manatee and check it out!