Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Beetle Boy” as Want to Read:
Beetle Boy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Beetle Boy

(The Battle of the Beetles #1)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  1,949 ratings  ·  371 reviews
Darkus is miserable. His dad has disappeared, and now he is living next door to the most disgusting neighbours ever.

A giant beetle called Baxter comes to his rescue. But can the two solve the mystery of his dad’s disappearance, especially when links emerge to cruel Lucretia Cutter and her penchant for beetle jewellery? A coffee-mug mountain, home to a million insects, coul
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 3rd 2016 by Chicken House (first published February 23rd 2016)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Beetle Boy, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Cecilie Jøhnk Consider Terry Pratchett's "Darwin's Watch"... check out reviews, whether it fits the child. It alternates between a parallel world (disc world) and s…moreConsider Terry Pratchett's "Darwin's Watch"... check out reviews, whether it fits the child. It alternates between a parallel world (disc world) and science history, esp. evolution.
My other recommendations are in Danish ... I have a girl like your boy ... she wants "books on quantum mechanics" for her birthday.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,949 ratings  ·  371 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Beetle Boy
This was a great read from start to finish and make no mistake, the beetles are the stars of the book. Leonard writes with a good pace, has a broad range of interesting characters and is, I think, a master of plot: you get a strong feeling that she knows where this series of stories is going and this, the first book, is setting the scene for later stories.
The heroes themselves, led by Darkus, are engaging and diverse and the bad characters are stock enough to almost seem to pop out of a Dahl bo
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
This is a really fun and informative read - basically 101 Dalmatians with beetles! I thoroughly enjoyed the London setting and the wacky characterisations. A great book for MG readers who like mystery, adventure and creepy-crawlies.
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: year-5
I loved the illustrations and the binding of the pages as it was covered in illustrations of bugs which really added to the overall effect and look of the book. I think it was a really good plot and introduces good themes for children- friendship, environmental issues, animals, etc. I liked how the book had a mystery to solve by the characters (the dad missing) and i think as other story-lines were interwoven into the main plot it meant that the book was more gripping and made the reader want to ...more
Jane Scholey
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant adventure story. A great villain. A fascinating look at beetles!
I like the characterization. It would definitely support topic work with a Y5/6 class. But more importantly, it's a page turner!
Noah Litle
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever fallen in love with a certain kind of animal, and then looked for all the books that feature said animal prominently? Well, this book was that for me. As much as I love beetles, I'm surprised it took me this long to actually look for books about them. You can thank or blame my 5yo brother, who asked me to get beetle books from the library. Anyway.
All that said, this book was amazing, in that it captured the wonder that I feel when I see pictures of beetles. I find them beautiful.
Les McFarlane
May 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The action starts from the very first pages. Darkus' dad has disappeared from a vault in the museum that is locked from the inside.
The thirteen year old boy doesn't believe for one moment that his dad would leave him voluntarily, he and his father were all each other had after the death of his mother five years before.
Darkus is taken in by his dad's brother, uncle Max. This is where the adventure begins. The shop alongside uncle Max' apartment is home to two unpleasant characters. Hu
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely stonking read! I couldn't put it down.
Really enjoyed the characters and story that M.G. Leonard has created, I especially enjoyed all the beetle science, names and facts throughout!
Wonderfully funny and quirky, mystery adventure! Perfect for fans of Roald Dahl, Lemony Snicket or just a damn good read! Literally can't wait for the next one, really looking forward to where the story goes next!
Olivia Henderson
Thoroughly enjoyed this book and wanted to read it whenever I had a spare few minutes! Loved the unusual story line - beetles being able to understand and act in a human way. Didn’t expect Lucretia Cutter to be the way she was, very different sort of ‘bad guy’ to other stories. Looking forward to reading the next one - The Beetle Queen.
Ben Cooke
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has to be one of my favourite books! Although it took a little while to capture my interests, the sudden outbreak of mystery, strategy and danger fully engaged me within the book. Lucretia Cutter, the 'bad guy' within the story, was a character that reeked surprise and mystery throughout the book; every event with her character revealed something new. I could definitely see this book being enjoyed and embraced by a KS2 child. I look forward to following the adventure of Darkus and the beetl ...more
David Barker
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A middle-grade book full of dark, fantastical ideas. Darkus Cuttle is a boy whose mother has died and whose father mysteriously disappears at the start of the story. Darkus is a nicely rounded character as are his friends and weird neighbours. Lucretia Cutter is truly horrible as the baddie. The plot is well paced with enough twists to be not predictable. An enjoyable romp for children and young teenagers.
Heidi Burkhart
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved most of the book - but the actual beetle battle seemed very violent to me. I think this would be be a very popular book for upper elementary or middle school students. It also seemed to have the elements that would make it a successful film.
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020
Absolutely bloody brilliant. It only took me so long to read because I was reading the actual book, not on kindle, and I rarely have the time for that nowadays. If I had been able, I would have devoured it in one sitting. Such an amazing and exciting book that children will undoubtedly enjoy, particularly if they have an interest in insects! I learned a lot too, about beetles and their anatomy etc. The characters and settings are gorgeously written, you can’t help but love everything about this ...more
Feb 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s a good read for anyone who likes insects. If you find beetles gross, however, you won’t like to read them crawling over people. I find it extremely funny that the author expresses her infinite love for beetles in the character Darkus and even in the summary on the back of the book. The mystery is very suspenseful, and leaves you on the tips of your toes. The character Virginia, even though she is great, doesn’t have enough description for you to imagine her, and that’s key when you make an ...more
Annette Rogers
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
Just loved it!
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fun, educational (I now know way more about beetles than I probably ever need to!), action packed read.
Quyen Pham
May 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing adventurous story for every kids in the world
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes a cocktail of great ingredients can come up with something fresh, new and brilliant - the things on the shelves of children's literature past and present are packed with great source material - but Beetle Boy sadly misses the mark and never becomes more than a mess of influences. There's a bit of Dahlian humour, with the fat and thin kidnappers next door, but it's not that funny. We've got a 2 boys 1 girl trio of crafty youngsters who don't really stand up to their betters. And the who ...more
Bethan Smith
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is wonderful for children who love to find out interesting facts and enjoy factual books like the Guinness book of world records! The story line is quirky and interesting and it's punctuated with insect fact file info.

The character development of Lucretia Cutter is highly involving and I can't wait to read the second book that focuses more on her character.
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read! Such a well written book with spunky, determined characters (kids!). It's full of imagery, suspense, action, description AND beetle facts! Highly recommend for 4th and 5th graders!! Of course adults who just enjoy a good book! ...more
Hannah Bainbridge
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Really enjoyed this book!
I thought that the imagery made you feel as though you were Darkus.
This was a creative book that had me hooked!

I would recommend to all!
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is everything 8-year-old me would have wanted in a story: intelligent beetles with special abilities, a great mystery disappearance to solve, repulsive neighbours, and a simply horrific villain.

When I was little, I was fascinated by insects. I would go on ‘bug hunts’ in our garden – pulling back the grass around our patio to reveal woodlice, beetles and spiders. I had a pet garden beetle on my bedside table for a short time, before it escaped its flimsy container and disappeared somewhere
Delightful read with wonderful characters (including the villains!). There is something spellbinding about a boy with a pet beetle as big as a hamster, and the story builds quickly and well to a smashing ending that made me jump when the phone rang!
Holly Bik
Feb 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
Why did I read this book?
Laura Noakes
This book made me love beetles. I’m talking picking-them-up-and-talking-to-them kind of love. But this book is SO MUCH MORE than that. There is a letter from Chicken House in the front of the book that compares Beetle Boy to Roald Dahl. Now, I’m going to admit it–I was a little sceptical about that comparison. After reading Beetle Boy, I can say that the comparison is entirely justified.

This book is chockfull of quirky wonder. Darkus, our main character, is smart, determined and SO kind (BAXTER
Justine Laismith
This middle-grade book reminds me so much of 101 Dalmations. Lucretia Cutter is Cruella Deville, and the two neighbours/cousins are Cruella's side-kick. Except Lucretia is into beetles. If you love beetles, this is the book for you. As the story progresses, we learn about different types of beetles. But if you have a nervous disposition about creepy crawlies, then let me warn you now. The descriptions of beetle infestation will have your hair standing on ends.
What's great about this book is the
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'll be honest, this has been on my to-read list for while, but the word 'beetle' in the title meant it kept slipping to the bottom. How disappointed I am that I allowed my entomological prejudice delay me so long! This is a fabulous, pacy, action packed story which grips you from the start. I loved the balance between tension and humour; I love the endearing characters; I loved the way Leonard incorporates facts about beetles without making me want to fall asleep (or jump, scratching, into very ...more
Ellie L
A really engaging and upbeat novel about the adventure of a young boy called Darkus who is trying to track down his father, who has disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
I felt that this was a very strong story, with lots of secrets unfurling and some really unique characters.
The story ends on a slight cliff-hanger, as the reader wonders where the villain has gone, and who/what she really is. There are some great gaps in the narrative which could be utilized for writing. For example, the c
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED this book. Absolutely brilliant back-yard adventure, with excellent science and danger and a very creepy-crawly villain...
Darkus is a wonderful character, and Baxter is one of the best non-speaking characters I've read. The children are brave and the adults are the right mix of silly and scary - the two cousins are very reminiscent of Horace and Jasper from 101 Dalmations. Uncle Max is wonderfully benevolent, and the stereotypical explorer-archaeologist uncle, and that's no bad thing.
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Roald Dahl meets Kafka! Funny, curiosity-inspiring, adventure-packed with a good dose of breath-holding and skin tingling. A fabulously bad baddy, great friendship and a jolly good mystery to solve. Just be prepared to get hold of a good bug encyclopedia afterwards because you (and your 11 year old) will want to find out more about the amazing creatures which brilliantly feature in this superb story.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
NZ Intermediate S...: Beetle Boy 3 13 May 02, 2017 02:22AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Who Let the Gods Out? (Who Let the Gods Out?, #1)
  • The Night Bus Hero
  • Letters from the Lighthouse
  • Boy in the Tower
  • The Boy At the Back of the Class
  • A Boy Called Hope
  • The Valley of Lost Secrets
  • The Star Outside My Window
  • Darkwhispers
  • The Nowhere Emporium
  • The Day I Was Erased
  • Potkin and Stubbs (Potkin and Stubbs #1)
  • Varjak Paw  (Varjak Paw #1)
  • Simply the Quest (Who Let The Gods Out?, #2)
  • Time Travelling with a Hamster
  • The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh
  • Asha & the Spirit Bird
  • Cogheart (The Cogheart Adventures, #1)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
M. G. Leonard is a writer of books, poems and screenplays. She has a first-class honours degree in English literature and an MA in Shakespeare Studies from Kings College London. She works as a freelance Digital Media Producer for clients such as the National Theatre, and Harry Potter West End, and previously worked as a Senior Digital Producer at the National Theatre, the Royal Opera House and Sha ...more

Other books in the series

The Battle of the Beetles (3 books)
  • Beetle Queen (The Battle of the Beetles #2)
  • Battle of the Beetles (The Battle of the Beetles, #3)

Related Articles

Is there anything more satisfying than getting all the way through a book, turning that last page, and getting to gush with people...
113 likes · 46 comments