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Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone: The Entomological Tales of Augustus T. Percival
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Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone: The Entomological Tales of Augustus T. Percival

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  425 Ratings  ·  153 Reviews
You would think Petronella’s sixteenth birthday would be cause for celebration. After all, fashionable friends are arriving at her country estate near London, teas are being served, and her coming out party promises to be a resplendent affair. Everything is falling nicely into place, until, suddenly—it isn’t. For Petronella discovers that her guardian, Uncle Augustus T. ...more
Hardcover, 196 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Oct 16, 2011 Miriam rated it it was ok
The cover and title were so cute that it wasn't a huge shock (although it was a disappointment) to find that the prose was much too precious for my taste. However, my main complaint was that Low has no feel for Victorian society and its mores, and clearly didn't bother to do any research. Probably she's read a couple of romances set during the 19th century and "knows" that people had coming-out parties and cared about their reputations. And wore fancy dresses, of course. That's the main point of ...more
Feb 02, 2010 Jennifer rated it did not like it
I added this disclaimer to my review after a lively conversation with some angry readers who turned out to be the author's grandson and school friend. Out of that discussion I read a blog post by the author. She made several points including that I had missed the satire and was probably someone who just bought into theories without critical analysis. I am not sure about that but I did miss that this book was satire. I thought it was more a spunky heroine, playing around with historical setting ...more
Jul 01, 2014 Grace rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone, by Dene Low, was one of the most charming, witty, well written books I have ever read. It had a P. G. Wodehouse feel to it and was chalk full of dry humor. While the plot is not terribly complex, it takes a smart reader who prefers unique reads to enjoy this title. You'll also have to prefer characters who have personalities with more of a subtle depth to them. So many books I've read have female heroines (or heroes in general) who are rude and 'tough' in an ...more
Jul 11, 2009 Alea rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-for-review

This has got to be one of the strangest, cutest, most wonderful starts to a series I've ever read and I think I'm in love with it. The language, the characters, their behaviors to me everything was spot on.

Right off the bat we are introduced to Victorian manners and ways of doing things and then all of a sudden we find Uncle Augustus T. Percival having a bite to eat, a bite to eat of BUGS! His compulsion is just so hilarious, the way the author writes it, seeing him hopping around in the backgro
Books and Literature for Teens
What if your uncle (and guardian) started eating bugs? What if, on your coming out party, two important guest-and later, your dearest friend-were kidnapped? What if your heart's true love still treated you like a little sister? And finally, what if your pesky, insane relatives got wind of this scandal and came knocking at your door?
Preposterous you say! But it's exactly what happens to Petronella Arbuthnot. Now it is up to her, Uncle Augusts, the handsome Lord James Sinclair, several old biddy a
Mar 23, 2011 DeAnne rated it really liked it
I loved this book. Loved it. It is a spot-on Regency spoof, without being spoofy at all. The story itself is entertaining, the protagonist's voice is delightful, the action is hysterical. The shades of Jane Austin are impossible to miss, but it's a delicate lavender shading. Anything more (or less), would be unseemly.

This is a lovely, light afternoon romp through wondrous estates, The Home Office, the seedy docks of London and mad Selleresque plots to overthrow the Crown.

This delightful comedy
Jun 23, 2012 Gloriana rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Middle to high school
I was originally attracted to this book for the sole stupid reason of its appearance. It is a little bitty hardback, about 10 inches tall, and it was dark brown with a mint green jacket. It looked like something made out of mint chocolate chip ice cream... Anyways, I picked it up, and it looked pretty interesting, so I bought it, not really knowing what to expect.
Despite the intimidatingly long title, this book really is a little gem. I went into it expecting something along the lines of Pride
Petronella Arbuthnot has been looking forward to her 16th birthday party forever. She hopes her bosom friend Jane's brother James will finally notice her as a woman and not as another little sister. Unfortunately for Petronella, her birthday gets off to a bad start when her uncle and guardian Uncle Augustus T. Percival accidentally swallows an insect and develops a passion for eating bugs! Then two uninvited guests show up to the party, an actress known as Dame Carruthers and Panamanian ...more
Aug 04, 2011 Anna added it
A review on the back of The Entomological Tales of Augustus T. Percival: Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone, by Dene Low, describes the narrative as "frothy," and nothing could be more true. The plot (best approached without looking too closely at the details, or it might collapse under the weight of its own frothiness) concerns the kidnapping of two dignitaries on the eve of narrator Petronella Arbuthnot's sixteenth birthday. With the aid of her insect-ingesting uncle Augustus, bosom friend Jane ...more
May 31, 2016 Jodi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: signed, kindle, 2016-read
Petronella is a saucy 16 year old in aristocratic London under the guardianship of her uncle Augustus Percival. Ordinarily, this would be a good thing. He is far and away the best of her relatives. But he accidentally swallowed a beetle and now he's a little, shall we say, different. It doesn't help that at her coming out party, two of her titled guests are kidnapped and her entire extended and obnoxious family descends on the house. But armed with her bosom friend, that friend's handsome older ...more
Jun 17, 2010 Katy rated it liked it
Have you ever been to a melodrama on stage where they exaggerate the villans and hold signs that prompt the crowd to boo and hiss and then exaggerate the hero and hold signs to cheer? When one reads this book one feels as though one is attending just such an event! (One also speaks this way when one is introducing every chapter!) It is light and funny, but the exaggeration and silliness keep you from ever really caring about the characters. Petronella never felt real to me, but I enjoyed the ...more
This was a very enjoyable, sweet little romp through London's upper crust in the beginning of the 1900s, with a bug-eating uncle making Petronella's hopes of a season more fraught than she'd hoped. I happily went with the awful aunts (one constantly pith-helmeted, one an early fashion victim) as they were cheerfully over-the-top. But some of the dialogue missed slightly and not all the wimsy was as effective as it could have been. Still liked it a lot, and will look out for a sequel, or whatever ...more
Jul 05, 2010 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysteries, youngadult
Tip-top, old whatsit! A hilarious mystery in the style of a P.G. Wodehouse novel, Petronella is a young lady of good family just making her debut when the party is spoiled by her beloved uncle and guardian knocking down the tent . . . because he was trying to eat the moths circling the candles! Plagued by her uncle's strange ailment, a double-kidnapping (which turns triple!), international intrigue, and a number of inconvenient relations, the book is a fun little romp from beginning to end!
Jan 21, 2010 Betsy rated it really liked it
Recommended to Betsy by: Colleen Mondor
One Sentence Review: It may not be particularly well known due to the sheer strangeness of the material, but Low's book is still a hoot and a holler (and really the number one go-to source for bug eating uncles this year).
Aug 04, 2012 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: utah-author
Dene Low is a local Utah author. I met her at Writing for Charity. And I simply had to pick up her book, especially in light of the delightful title and cover. As far as I can tell, Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone is Ms. Low's only published work, though she has completed three additional books about Petronella's adventures. Without further ado, the blurb:

You would think Petronella’s sixteenth birthday would be cause for celebration. After all, fashionable friends are arriving at her country es
Oct 27, 2012 Mara rated it really liked it
Cover Blurb: Not my absolute favorite; the title is what I got me to look at its synopsis, and then read it. It sounded too weird to pass up. The cover is kind of charming, but it doesn’t do anything for me.

What I Liked: Petronella is a very amusing, witty, sarcastic narrator; she was terrific. The other characters were all very good “supporting cast.” This book reminded me of a combination of The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place and A Series of Unfortunate Events: it had the time period an
Maureen E
I really, really wanted to like this book. Really, really. And it was fun. A light, sparkling romp through English country houses and London, complete with spunky heroine and bug-eating uncle. I did appreciate that Petronella was spunky but also very concerned with society’s rules (at least at the beginning) and very interested in clothes. Because, honestly, most of us are somewhat concerned with society’s rules and interested in clothes. So she rang a little more true as a girl of her times ...more
May 13, 2015 Kailey rated it it was amazing
I love it! I read this book all in one sitting, and was perfectly delighted with every chapter. The absurd plot and witty banter are just perfection! There are so many imaginative details in this book that all come together for a truly interesting plot. The writing is so dignified and humorous; it's like this sugary froth of words.

I adore Uncle Augustus, and I liked how sweet and caring he is to his niece. His insect "problem" was just hilarious! I loved seeing his character develop throughout t
Emily Michelle
Nov 08, 2010 Emily Michelle rated it really liked it
I struggled with what rating to give this book. The fact is, the plot is not brilliant. The kidnapping and the international intrigue weren't terribly compelling and were a bit hard to follow; I still have no idea why the Colombians were kidnapping the Panamanians . . . or was it vice versa? And I found Uncle Augustus's bug eating rather more annoying than funny, which is rather unfortunate because I think that's going to be the point of the entire series.

But for all this, I really liked the boo
Oct 16, 2010 Amy rated it it was ok
Shelves: favorites
Picture Junior Asparagus from Veggie Tales saying "that is disgusting" and you have an idea what is running through my head right now. Wow.
I don't even know where to begin. Maybe with the title.
It comes across kind of childish..."Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone" and that is what first caught my attention. It was a quick read, with a most facinating and disturbing plot.
Petronella is a young lady in Victorian England whose guardian and uncle is hosting her 16th birthday coming-out-party when he
catherine james
All Petronella wants is for her sixteenth birthday luncheon, marking her debut in society, to be a success; but things go awry right from the start when her uncle Augustus, discovers a fondness for entomography (bug-eating). Circumstances grow steadily worse when two important guests, Dame Carruthers and Generalisimo Reyes-Cardoza (a Panamanian dignitary) are kidnapped and held for ransom. It's just plain bad luck when Petronella's fortune-hunting relatives descend in the hopes of proving Uncle ...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
Dec 19, 2010 Erin Reilly-Sanders rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, teen, historical
For some reason I feel a little confused by this one. For one, I feel like I should have been better amused by this book. I enjoy mysteries, historical pieces, and especially books with a heavy handed sprinkle of smart humour. All these things we're present and yet I still didn't feel drawn in by the inescapable charm of the book. The characters are rather shallow but make up for it in witty dialog. The requisite romance is there but seems rather static- Petronella is in love with James, who is ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Cat for

All Petronella wants is for her sixteenth birthday luncheon, marking her debut into society, to be a success - but things go awry right from the start when her Uncle Augustus discovers a fondness for entomography (bug-eating).

Circumstances grow steadily worse when two important guests, Dame Carruthers and Generalisimo Reyes-Cardoza (a Panamanian dignitary) are kidnapped and held for ransom. It's just plain bad luck when Petronella's fortune-hunting relatives d
Petronella (real name Eunice, as it happens) is an aristocrat with a family history of adventuring. For an adventuring family, including an aunt who consistently appears in khaki trousers and a pith helmet, they are still awfully concerned with appearances and propriety.

So, when Petronella's Uncle Augustus accidentally swallows a beetle and develops a strong penchant for eating insects.... it's a big problem.

The characters were entertaining but not as endearing as I might have hoped, probably be
Mar 05, 2010 J.Elle rated it it was ok
This was a quick read. I would consider some of the dialogue to be witty, but my impression was that the author tried to outdo herself and it became rather repetitive. When was the last time you read a book where the word hirsute was used? Try 3 times. That's overkill, in my opinion. I realized rather quickly that rather than being a book about a mystery with bugs thrown in, this was a book about bugs with a mystery thrown in. A young girl's guardian accidentally ingests a beetle and finds he ...more
Sep 28, 2011 Vivian rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s
Something for the budding Jane-Austenette brimful of turn-of-the-twentieth century vernacular, sillyness, mystery, intrigue, friendship, scientific fantasy (an oxymoron?)-- all told with a flair for hyperbole. I kept visualizing this as a delightful movie--once I got past her Uncle's unfortunate transistion. A word of warning to the tweener: your vocabulary may swell a bit, if you stop to jot down unfamiliar words and later look them up.

Here is a running list of some of the vocabulary...
Sep 07, 2011 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a frothy little yarn. Kind of bizarre in plot (great uncle Augustus accidentally swallows some sort of strange beetle that flies right into his mouth--and ever after that, he craves bugs to eat, but not human food). ICK!--and his niece Petronella has to help figure out how to save him, alongside two upper-crust muckity-mucks who happen to be kidnapped right during Petronella's official coming-out party ("coming out" in the archaic sense, not in the 21st century, of course). I almost ...more
Sandra Stiles
Oct 31, 2009 Sandra Stiles rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grades
Petronella is preparing for her coming out party when disaster strikes. An unknown type of beetle flies into her Uncle's mouth. As her guardian she needs him to be there for her. He is suddenly behaving very peculiar. He is snatching bugs out of the air and eating them. As the party approaches her Uncle tries to behave himself. Unfortunately while trying to nab a tasty delight he causes the party tent to collapse on the guests. When everyone is removed they realize that the Count and Countess ...more
Apr 07, 2014 Hannah rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-historical
As a person who enjoys historical British novels in the vein of Jane Austen, the Brontes, Mrs. Gaskell, and my favorite romance author, Georgette Heyer. This novel carries that tone, but injects so much whimsy, hilarity, and action that I truly enjoyed this story and would recommend it to teens who enjoy the same!
Petronella is a 16 year old girl about to have her coming out party in London society. Her guardian and uncle, Augustus, accidentally swallows a beetle one afternoon and is forever cha
Erin O.
Jul 20, 2013 Erin O. rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-ya-fiction
After I was intrigued by the interesting title and pen-and-ink drawings in the first few pages, I found the actual text of this book somewhat disappointing. By and large the dialogue felt contrived and labored ("Avoid the strawberry trifle. It is exactly the same shade as the Countess of Wilberforce's tresses, and I cannot recommend it."), and the plot was so muddy I'm still not sure exactly what happened. Unfortunately, my boredom prevented me from working too hard to find out.

One thing I thou
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