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Burt the Beetle Doesn't Bite!

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Ashley Spires brings her signature deadpan humor to this hilarious story about one bug's quest for greatness (with some cool insect facts mixed in!).

Meet Burt, a ten-lined june beetle. He's sure he belongs in the category of bugs with superpower-like abilities. No, he can't carry 50 times his weight, like ants. No, he's not able to spray paralyzing venom, like some termites. No, he can't release a bad smell to repel predators, like stink bugs. What june beetles are known for is chasing porch lights and flailing their legs in the air --- does that count? Hmm ... Maybe Burt will just have to accept the truth. June beetles don't have any special abilities. But when some other bugs find themselves in perilous trouble that even their superpowers can't get them out of, Burt suddenly realizes there is one thing that he can do to save his friends --- and it's something that only a june beetle can do!

Bestselling author-illustrator Ashley Spires's signature mix of slapstick and dry humor is front and center in this winning story that highlights how being special is as much about character as it is about abilities. Full of simply drawn panels prominently featuring the ever-plucky Burt, it's a perfect pick for emerging readers and young fans of comics. Burt's positive attitude toward himself and others offers many opportunities for character education lessons on caring, positive thinking and initiative. Snuck into the pages are facts about bugs and their traits, making this a fun choice for a science unit on the characteristics of living things.

56 pages, Hardcover

First published June 1, 2021

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About the author

Ashley Spires

49 books198 followers
Ashley has written and illustrated many books, most notably the bestselling The Most Magnificent Thing, which is now a short animated film. She creates books that remind kids that making mistakes is integral to learning. She lives in British Columbia with her dog and a growing army of felines.

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5 stars
122 (35%)
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162 (47%)
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51 (14%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 117 reviews
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,178 reviews2,240 followers
April 30, 2021
I don't know why we adults have this tendency to harm the harmless beings around us. Maybe because we are conditioned to think that they are "annoying" just for existing?

What I felt while reading this colourful picture book on different types of bugs was we must not harm such small beings. They are important too.

But what was a good warm story about the bug and the spider for the kids towards the end of the book, I feel it's a bit unrealistic taken that one is the prey and the other the predator.

Love the easy, eye-popping illustrations.

Thank you author and the publisher for the advance reading copy.
Profile Image for Srivalli Rekha.
Author 18 books232 followers
May 2, 2021
4.35 Stars
This is such a cute, cute book! I need to add a disclaimer that I’m not a fan of insects. Still, I picked it up because Burt, on the cover, was too sweet to ignore. The illustrations and humor are the highlights of the book.
The book gives kids insights into types of beetles and insects by portraying them as cute and innocent little creatures (which they actually are). The information is just enough to get kids excited and talk about insects instead get terrified of them.
The underlying message deals with how everyone has a special ability, whether we know it or not. Each kid is special and deserves the same kind of love and encouragement to grow.
Overall, it’s an engaging book for the little munchkins. Let them learn to love themselves and treat others (including insects) with care.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and Kids Can Press and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Profile Image for Anoud.
477 reviews61 followers
January 6, 2021
Many thanks to Kids Can Press and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Burt the Beetle Doesn't know what his superpower is. As we go to a short journey with Burt, we learn so many things about insects and their superpowers, and how Burt deals with his lack of powers in the insect world.

This was very good. The art and the story.
The morale of this story is very important, I believe this will help any child who doesn't feel special, or inferior to other children.
That our greatest assets comes from within is a great lesson to learn early on.

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Valéria..
731 reviews27 followers
April 18, 2021
Milujem chrobáče. A milujem keď sú pre decká robené ilustrované knihy s chrobáčikmi. A táto bola naozaj super a milučká. Krásne ilustrovaná. Poučná. Nič pre dospelých ale keby som decko, tak som z toho nadšená (aj keď ja som z toho nadšená aj teraz).
Profile Image for CeeMarie.
327 reviews12 followers
January 9, 2021
I received this as an ARC from NetGalley and it was a quick and very fun read for my kids and me. It was clever, with great artwork that actually managed to teach a lot about different common insects.
Profile Image for Rebecca Crunden.
Author 16 books470 followers
September 20, 2021
Everything about this book was cute. It follows Burt the beetle as he tries to find out what he excels at in the bug world and how he'll be of use. He tries out a variety of roles until he finds the perfect fit!

The drawings are just absolutely adorable and the info boxes are really informative. This is a great book for teaching kids to keep trying and not give up, while broadening their knowledge of the insect world. Definitely recommend!

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.
Blog | Twitter
Profile Image for Sharon Tyler.
2,685 reviews31 followers
June 4, 2021
Burt the Beetle Doesn't Bite! by Ashley Spires is a nonfiction graphic novel for young readers currently scheduled for release on June 1 2021.

Meet Burt, a ten-lined june beetle. He's sure he belongs in the category of bugs with superpower-like abilities. No, he can't carry 50 times his weight, like ants. No, he's not able to spray paralyzing venom, like some termites. No, he can't release a bad smell to repel predators, like stink bugs. What june beetles are known for is chasing porch lights and flailing their legs in the air --- does that count? Maybe Burt will just have to accept the truth. June beetles don't have any special abilities. But when some other bugs find themselves in perilous trouble that even their superpowers can't get them out of, Burt suddenly realizes there is one thing that he can do to save his friends --- and it's something that only a june beetle can do!

Burt the Beetle Doesn't Bite! is another winner from Spires. Burt is a beetle that wants to be a special as all the other creatures around him- but his positive attitude and good hugs are not nearly as cool as what everyone else can do, right? I loved he facts about june beetles and all the other critters Burt runs into. I also liked the personality of poor Burt, as he tries to look on the bright side even as he starts to doubt himself. I think many readers, or all ages, will recognize the spiral of doubt and worry that Burt feels. I think we have all been there at some point. And the understanding that some of the more goofy aspects of Burt's are what enables him to come to the rescue and keep himself safe. I really enjoyed the balance between science facts and the silly vibe that keeps the reader turning pages. The illustrations are equally interesting and engaging. It would do well both as a fun read and a starting point in lower grade classrooms talking about insects, nature, and character traits. I think young readers that like nonfiction about nature, humor, and graphic novels and picturebooks will greatly appreciate this book.
Profile Image for Carolyn Bragg.
371 reviews5 followers
May 8, 2021
Burt may be the first June beetle you ever meet, but you won’t forget him. He’s friendly, helpful, and like most everybody, he wants to be super...at something.

Anyway, Burt knows a LOT of bugs that are super at doing whatever, or shooting out stuff or spitting. Which for bugs is cool. And the narrator—who tells us how neat every bug is—says that June beetles do NOT have super abilities. A little bit blunt, but that’s bug people for you!

I think Burt is pretty nice, and funny, (and a tiny bit silly). It might be a little bit, um, scary, but you’re brave, right? If Burt can handle it, you can for sure! I think you’ll enjoy his adventure through the (secretly educational) story about him and some of his new friends!

(I think being super might be overrated, but I didn’t write the book. Ashley the famous writer did. She’s super. Really.)

P.S. Be sure to read the trading-card type pictures at the beginning and end of the book. Maybe you’ll see one of your super abilities there!
Profile Image for Morris.
964 reviews160 followers
February 28, 2021
This is a fun and clever book that contains a lot of interesting information on bugs. Kids will enjoy the illustrations and humor. Great for reluctant readers!

This unbiased review is based on a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
Profile Image for Michelle.
53 reviews
June 19, 2021
We received this book today from a Goodreads Giveaway and it’s a hit with my kids. They loved reading this book tonight. Burt the Beetle is full of humor and knowledge. Fantastic children’s book!
Profile Image for Maritina Mela.
336 reviews85 followers
March 8, 2022
A very cute and entertaining short story about how even the smallest and seemingly 'useless' beings can be proven helpful.
Also, a nice opportunity to teach both kids and adults some basic stuff about insects.
And honestly, the fact that the language is easy for kids to understand, the pace is good and the illustrations are so adorable, is a big plus.
I recommend that to parents/teachers/caregivers etc who are in search for an educational story featuring animals, but would also like to try a little something different.

I received a free e-book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Marte.
261 reviews4 followers
January 2, 2022
I got this on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

I really liked this book and everything it represents! I both felt like it gives key information about a bunch of insects and features, while also highlighting that everyone has something about them that makes them special and useful, and that we shouldn’t compare ourselves with others. Really cute art too!
Profile Image for Ryan.
4,406 reviews22 followers
Want to read
June 28, 2021
This super fun book is a non-fiction title in disguise. It uses a cute beetle with depression issues to introduce his friends and all the things about them that are special. Burt is not special, but he finds a way to help his friends anyway. There was a lot to like about this book. It is funny and educational, and I can see kids wanting to read this over and over again.
Profile Image for Rajiv.
959 reviews64 followers
May 7, 2021


Let me preface by saying that insects and bugs, in general, creep me out. I am not fascinated with them and face anxiety issues when I encounter one. But, “Burt the Beetle Doesn’t Bite!” was cute enough that it made me appreciate them.

The author made Burt the Beetle adorable, and I enjoyed his narration in the story. He doesn’t have any unique qualities like other insects and finds himself feeling very average. But, in the end, Burt comes to the rescue of his friends, discovering that Burt does have a unique talent that comes in handy. The author also made the story humorous in how clumsy Burt is and how he always falls on his back and asks for help.

Also, the illustrations are adorable, which makes you feel like you could spark an interest in entomology. The words are not long but do contain some challenging words like “predators,” “ultrasonic,” and “paralyzing” that would encourage them to learn.

However, while I loved how the author designed the story, I wish there was more information. The book focuses on the various qualities of each bug, but I would have liked to see how these insects help with the environment. For instance, some beetles eat unwanted items and help pollinate flowers. I wished the author included more aspects of the creatures in turns of how they contributed to nature.

Other than that, “Burt the Beetle Doesn’t Bite!” was a fun children’s picture book that would help readers feel differently about insects. I admire how the author approached the subject and hope she continues to release more graphic novels in a similar theme.
Profile Image for April Gray.
1,312 reviews7 followers
July 2, 2021
What a fun, super cute book! I enjoyed reading this, it was engaging, interesting, and Burt is just adorable. He's a type of June beetle, which aren't as friendly as Burt if you meet them in real life: they are very hissy, & will come flying at you if you're not careful. One learns to leave them alone, unless you want a bug in your hair. Burt introduces us to many interesting bugs with unique talents, which he is very excited about- he's a great cheerleader- but feels he has no special powers of his own. However, we learn that he has sticky legs, and is heavy for a bug, and because of this he is able to save the other bugs from a spider's web by wrapping the spider in a hug (Burt loves hugging), then jumping in the spider web and breaking it, freeing the other insects. Turns out Burt is a great friend to have around! Maybe the June beetles I've met were trying to be friendly after all, and just wanted to give me a hug! The text is a good mix of interesting information about insects and endearing dialog from Burt, and lots of really cute illustrations (the endpapers are great, filled with an array of insects with their super powers listed). I'm sure kids will love this as much as I did.

6,037 reviews67 followers
December 17, 2020
Hmmm… This quick and snappy read left me wanting more, although not particularly more of exactly the same. The main character of this edutainment is a june bug, or watermelon beetle, which kind of limits this book's appeal to the US states where it lives. We see how several insects could be said to have a superpower, all the while finding that the june bug would appear to have none, until it does. And the book doesn't really explain how – and both the reader and the victim of the said power are kind of left hanging as a result. There's a good comic timing if you like between the characters and the narrator, and the graphic novel format is used attractively, but as the book didn't really follow through logically on the science it gave us it can't get full marks. Worth a read if your child is into garden critters of the beetle variety, but I'm not suggesting to any librarians who might offer the chance of such a reading opportunity that it's at all essential.
Profile Image for Lauren Geier.
73 reviews3 followers
September 20, 2021
I LOVE Ashley Spires’ book “The Most Magnificent Thing!” My daughter and I have read it over and over and over and… Spires’ newest release, “Burt The Beetle Doesn’t Bite!” is very cute and since my daughter is a HUGE bug fanatic, I couldn’t wait to share it with her! The book begins by introducing readers to some of the amazing abilities many insects have that make them special. The illustrations are laid out like a comic strip and are hilarious. Burt appears from the getgo cheering on his fellow bugs and then wonders what it is that makes him special. He lists multiple things he might be able to do but then is seen failing. Poor Burt!?
Don’t fret, friends! Our lovable pal Burt discovers his special ability in the end and it is absolutely adorable. My 5 year old daughter LOVES this book and giggles from cover to cover. I love that what makes Burt special is his heart (that isn’t completely a spoiler…) and can become an affirmation to replicate with any reader.
Profile Image for Adam Williams.
Author 8 books10 followers
March 6, 2022
Burt is a watermelon beetle that is a bit jealous of the other insects' special abilities. He doesn't have super strength, shoot ultrasonic blasts, blast venom, or create stink clouds. All he has is a furry, sticky belly, and constantly finds himself stuck on his back. But one day, when the rest of the insects are stuck in a spider's web, he realizes that he can do more than he thought. Burt the Beetle Doesn't Bite is jam-packed with educational value. Not only does it teach kids interesting trivia about a handful of insects, it also addresses several aspects of social-emotional learning. The book talks about what to do if you don't feel special, how to embrace your individuality and teamwork. Initially, I felt that the book was a bit too long for young kids, but I changed my mind on my second read. The pacing is great as the pages rotate between full-page illustrations with comic book-style frames.
Profile Image for Becky B.
7,387 reviews94 followers
June 9, 2021
Burt is a June beetle. Some insects have super powers. They can be super fast, have super abilities, or produce amazing things. Burt discovers he’s kind of average, or even below average in many insect areas. Does Burt have anything special about him?

A cute and educational little graphic novel. Kids will learn lots about June beetles and other arthropods (not just insects, there are some spiders included). Burt discovers that he may not have the flashiest of abilities, but he still has some important skills. I love that he's a good friend. A little burst of inspiration for those who think they aren’t anything special, and lots of great bug facts. Definitely getting a copy for our elementary library. Highly recommended for curious kids.

I received an ARC of this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Lyzz.
113 reviews5 followers
January 6, 2021
Burt the Bettle Doesn't Bite is a charming children's book about Burt, a watermelon bettle who is trying to figure out what his superpower is. He takes a tour through many different insects and learns about what their superpowers are but can't seem to find his

I was not the intended audience for this book but I think it is a book my 3-year-old nephew would love. It has beautiful illustrations that are eye-catching. The story provides some good information about different insects before ending with a heartwarming message. The amount of information is appropriate to the target audience and doesn't feel like too much or too little.

I would definintely recommend this as a great gift for a small human who is particularly interested in science or animals.
6,949 reviews26 followers
May 5, 2021
Graphic Non-Fiction
I received an electronic ARC from Kids Can Press through NetGalley.
Spires slides science seamlessly into this story of a June Beetle named Burt. He doesn't think he has any super powers and feels blue at times when he sees what other insects can do. Readers are invited to see this world from an insect size view. They see the interactions amongst the bugs and get to be part of it. The cartoon style works well for elementary level readers. Burt is a likeable character and readers will be delighted when he figures out his super power too.
Spires also adds informative text at the end with facts about each type of insect. The short paragraph style works well. Great for a read together portion of this book or to challenge readers to learn more themselves.
240 reviews2 followers
May 22, 2021
This book was SO cute and I cannot wait to get my hands on anything else related to this one. This adorably illustrated book stars a ten-lined June beetle aka. Watermelon Beetle aka. Burt. He may not fly like some other bugs, or run fast, or be strong, and he may not stink up the place to scare predators like the stink bug, but he can do other things… maybe… But when his friends are in trouble, there is no one more Burtier than Burt to step up and prove that you don’t have to have super powers to be a super friend. Read this book!!! You’ll laugh, you’ll relate to the “ordinary” bug, you might even learn some fun facts about June beetles (not just Burt).

I received an ARC but my opinions are all mine (and my childrens’)
Profile Image for Hillary Knowles.
13 reviews3 followers
July 16, 2021
Burt the Beetle Doesn't Bite! is by Ashley Spires. I actually chose this book from NetGalley because the focus of the book is about June beetles. Being from Southeast Texas, I came across many June beetles in my day, but we called them June bugs. Spires's book is specifically about the ten-lined June beetle which don't live around my area, but I still wish this would have existed when I was a kid. I was terrified of June bugs! Being born in June, my mom used to try and tell me that "they came to celebrate [my] birthday," but I wasn't falling for it. Burt the Beetle lets kids know that June beetles aren't one of the more dangerous bugs they should be afraid of. In fact, they really don't have anything special about them! Or do they???
Profile Image for Nidhi Srivastava.
335 reviews130 followers
May 11, 2021
A tiny coming-of-age tale of Burt, a June beetle, that is bound to warm your heart, make you giggle as well as inform you of some very weird and interesting insect trivia. And oh, your kid will probably enjoy it more than you. I definitely enjoyed it as an adult and am looking forward to gifting copies of this book as part of my cool aunt duties.

I don't think I've ever seen a June Beetle, and I'm not a particular fan of bugs. But I love gardening, and animals facts, and well-told stories in general, so this was right up my alley. Thank you to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for this lovely read.
Profile Image for The Silvan Reverie | Sarah Street.
680 reviews44 followers
June 4, 2021
A funny and charming read -- kids will get to know Burt the Beetle as well as a number of backyard insects through his eyes. So many other insects have cool and fascinating things about them and Burt thinks they're amazing. He's trying to fit in with all the awesomeness around him and kids will find his antics silly and familiar. It's a nice book with some layers -- fascinating insect facts, how to have a sense of humor, and a message about varying abilities. The take-home is that everyone may not have the same abilities but we can all be good friends.

***Note: I was given a review copy of this book by Kids Can Press. Opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Diane.
6,671 reviews
September 4, 2021
“I have foiled you with my warm embrace.”

June Beetle can’t find any special ability that he has: he can’t carry heavy items or poison prey. He doesn’t have ultrasonic blasts or super stink. He can’t climb, fly or run really fast. What good is he? Well, he’s a hugger and he does have a furry stomach. So when his friends get stuck in a spider web, his only option is to hug spider to keep him from eating his friends. Amazingly, it works. And then, with his weight, he is able to bring the spider web down. Good thing the narrator was there to give June Beetle some advice.

Cute. Includes Awesome Insect Super Facts in the back.
Profile Image for iam.
955 reviews129 followers
January 8, 2021
This is a short & fun graphic novel about Burt the Beetle that both tells a story about uniqueness and being special while also teaching about various insects.

The plotline was cute and playfully introduces a variety of insects. I found it a bit confusing that insects from a variety of climates and countries were chosen rather than from one single area. Sure, most were common enough, but some seemed really specialized.

Still a fun read suitable for kids that can help against building insect related phobias.

I received an ARC and reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
Profile Image for Joy Z.
247 reviews1 follower
April 27, 2021
I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is the first book I read together with my 5 years old by Ashley Spires, and immediately after, she wanted to know what other books this author had wrote, so I think it's safe to say this story is a big success.

The story line mixed humour with scientific facts, and the drawing was very capturing. The potty humour made my daughter laugh out loud and she was able to finish this book even though it was her least favourite subject- bugs.
1,609 reviews13 followers
May 4, 2021
This delightful picture book not only tells a charming tale about Burt the Beetle, it also informs the reader about several other insects as well. Children who read this for the fun story will find themselves intrigued by insects in general and will likely clamor for nonfiction as well. Burt is concerned that he doesn't have a super power like other insects, until in the end, he discovers that he is important too. A romp through finding yourself and encouraging others as well. Highly recommended.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 117 reviews

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