Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs” as Want to Read:
The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  590 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
The brave good bugs march off to save the garden . . .

First, they must fight the evil Spider Queen . . .

Before summoning the Leaf Men to save the day . . .

But what about the mystery of the Long-Lost Toy?

Here is ancient elfin magic, epic adventure, and a bugle salute to the power of memory, loyalty and love as resounding as Robin Hood's call to his Merry Men!
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published August 30th 1996 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 1996)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

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

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jamal Scott
Oct 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
On the cover of the book the leaf men are on the bottom. There's also a moon with the title on the top. The books is in a dark blue. There's a picture on every other page with writing on the other.

This book is pretty much about an army of leaf men. This book tells what they go through. There's also enemies or bad characters that they have to face like the spider.
Erin Reilly-Sanders
I really liked the idea of this book but it came together in a way that just felt a bit "off" for some reason. The pictures seem okay, with an odd sense of plasticity to them for a book about a fantastical garden. The execution of the style seems fine and the organic edges of the pictures are likely meant to be soft and dreamlike. However, the often dark colors seem to be jarring against the mostly white pages, creating an awfully bright book for a night-time story. The story itself is a little ...more
Douglas Cootey
Sep 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: children
Fanciful illustrations, but inexplicable storyline. Things happen because they do, not because they make sense. I am astounded that the movie Epic could be spawned from such a slight tale. All that being said, there is a charm to the book that is undeniable. I doubt children will be bothered by new characters being introduced every other page. The deus ex machina story resolution will hardly bother them either. Children will likely be too entranced by the delightful illustrations which harken ba ...more
Apr 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I am falling for William Joyce. Hard. All of the art, all of the stories. For some reason it is not widely publicized when a movie is made from a book of his, there aren't movie covers and special editions - which is fine - but I would have discovered him a lot sooner if I had known!

I love the illustrations, and his stories are so creative and original. I can't wait to read more of his work! This will be in my library whether I have children or not.
Oct 15, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: childrens-lit
The story line is bewildering, which is then compounded by Joyce's style, which in this instance I find unsatisfyingly weird. Being dreamlike may allow for some latitude, but in this case doesn't overcome its problems.
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Strange art and weird story but still really good.
Jun 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
While I was away on a trip last week, my hubby took our girls to see the movie Epic, which is apparently based loosely on this book. I asked our girls what they thought about the two and they said that they were very different, but they liked them both.

This was a strange tale and the illustrations are a bit bizarre, but considering the author also wrote The Sandman: The Story of Sanderson Mansnoozie, I was expecting nothing less. We enjoyed reading this book together.

interesting quote:

"Things m
Kristine Hansen
I loved the movie Epic and sought out this book when I heard about it.

While the stories are very loosely connected at all, I can see at the heart of it where Epic came from. This story focuses on an old woman who has fallen sick and a garden that is beginning to die. I found the story somewhat bittersweet and poignant, and I liked the little bit we actually saw of the Leaf Men. The Doodle Bug Brigade was the best part!

I was left feeling a little unsure, not quite satisfied with the story at the
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love Joyce, but the Offspring were never convinced in favor of his books. Movies and series based on his work? Sure, that's great. Sigh.

2003 january 1

There's one image here of a group of bugs that looks like concept art for A Bug's Life.

Once people learn to read chapter books, they mostly leave picture books in the past. Last night I read a stack of Joyce books, and I loved every moment of it. His art is richly detailed and fun, a little bit deco, and his setting is a timeless 20th century th
Jennifer Heise
May 12, 2015 rated it liked it
As an adult, I was charmed by this slightly surrealistic book, though my five year old could take it or leave it alone. Probably belongs in the same category as The Tub Grandfather (not having the existential terror of The Tub People for kids). Would make an excellent video game similar to Mushroom Men, but as a book, it's best for adults reminiscing about their childhood dreams of playing in the garden. There's a certain flavor of Miss Suzy, Rumer Godden The Doll's House and their ilk about the ...more
Nov 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: with-himself
From Finnian (11.11.11)


I liked the artwork. I Iiked going into leafed-in caves and seeing the insects' world. The brave good bugs team was brave and the Leaf Men had bow and arrows and swords and rode on Luna moths. A long lost toy got captured by a spider queen who had ant goblins for soldiers. The caves made out of leaves looked really comfortable and cozy. The brave good bugs needed to free the long lost toy and help save the plants and the Leaf Men helped rescue the plants a
Aug 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books
This was a cute book. It reinforces that spiders are evil!! lol. It's a bit sad and depressing at the beginning as the old women and her garden start wilting and get sick. But it has a happy ending.

I really liked the doodle bugs. And the pages were nice and thick and almost had an antique quality. While I was a bit disappointed with how it wrapped up (it was a bit confusing at times as to what the actual plot of the story was), it was a nice story. I liked the happy ending and how the grandma pa
Dec 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Leaf Men is a great tale full of adventure and excitement. Every kids enjoys reading about super heroes that no one has seen but everyone has heard about. The Leaf Men is no exception. Not only is it full of heroics, but it also expresses caring. Super heroes save people, and that is a nice message to send to children. Such a simple act, as the one acted out in this book, changed lives. Children should know that kindness changes things for the better, and they can do the same. This book teac ...more
May 31, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This is a picture book to be read with older children who will have the patience and understanding for a longer story. I picked this up because when I was going through lists of forthcoming movies, I saw that a film is being made from his book series called The Guardians of Childhood. And I always liked his book "Dinosaur Bob." His artwork is so detailed and amazing. Makes me glad I'm working in the children's room!
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
An old, old woman loves her garden but shares it's beauty and secrets with her grandchildren. One day, the old woman falls ill and the creatures of the garden must summon the Leaf Men for help.

The ending is rather sweet and the illustrations are interesting. This book is different than Joyce's other modern gadgets, architecture, or robots.
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
my 8 year old and I have been loving the movie trailer of Epic.

We discovered the movie was based on this book so we jumped at the chance to read it.

We both loved it, although she said it was a little sad. The illustrations are beautiful and we spent just as long enjoying every photo as we did comparing the pictures to the movie trailer.

we can't wait!
Jul 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: summer-2016
I have become a HUGE fan of William Joyce's picture books! I had only read about a page when I realized that the movie "Epic" must have been based on this work. Even though this book is a shorter story, my four year old enjoyed the illustrations so much he didn't complain that we were done reading early. :) Thank you, Mr. Joyce, for helping my son calm down and enjoy a story before nap time!
May 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: teachers, parents, kids
Recommended to Relyn by: I love William Joyce.
Shelves: lawsonland
This isn't my favorite William Joyce, but I've never read a book by him I didn't like. This one appealed quite a bit to my boys.

Lesson Connections
Next year I will be intertwining my reading and writing workshops more than ever. I plan to begin with an author's study or two. This one will be part of that.
The Brothers
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An old woman gets ill and her garden begins to die while she is sick in bed. A lost toy tells the bugs what to do to save the garden. The doodle bugs take up the task and succeed in summoning the leaf men who repair the garden.

William Joyce is just awesome as an illustrator. Loved the detail and style of this book.
Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
It was a decent book with rich illustrations. Because of all the rave reviews it was getting, I expected a little more, however. I realize that it's a children's book, but I expected the story to be a little more in-depth than it was. Regardless, the premise of the story is very nice, and I did enjoy the book.
May 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Dinosaur Bob by William Joyce is a family favorite so I was intrigued to read The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs. Beautiful illustrations, as always, but the story didn't capture my imagination the way Bob did.
Aug 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
My husband and I loved reading this book with our kids. I even sewed a leafy Leafman outfit for my son so he could show the book and the poster-sized storyboard we made together to his kindergarten class for show-and-tell. Everyone in the family loves this book!
Christina Baker
Aug 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This story had some dark moments for my taste in picture books, but the illustrations were fantastic, my kids loved the plot line, and it came full-circle beautifully. Three cheers for Louisiana authors!
Sep 26, 2013 rated it liked it
As though it were a primer for epic literature for young listeners / readers, this slender tome provides moments of high questing, acts of both fidelity and courage, and incorporates a sense of deliverance. The illustrations provide gorgeous depth and detail to the reading experience.
Sep 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Read this book because it was the basis for the 3D cartoon, "Epic". Although the "Epic" storyline is already far removed from this book, I am just awed at William Joyce's creative mind that can spin off fantastical stories for kids that are even more wonderful on the big screen.
Sep 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Enchanting and sweet. The illustrations are breathtaking, and the story keeps you enwrapped as we learn the mission of the Good Bugs, and their quest to save the life of an old woman.
The movie for this comes out May of next year, and I would like for them to keep the same villain as the book :F
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-kids-books
I really like the details of the drawings in this book. Almost more than the story. I love the last page, with the picture of the old woan as a child and the tallest tree in the yard nothing but a small sapling. A good read!
Jul 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Another wonderfully illustrated and written story by Joyce. The Leaf Men are garden super heroes!
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Hurrah for the Doodle Bug Guild! Had to re-read this to get ready for Epic!! I'm so glad that these great books are being used as the basis for movies.
May 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
warm and adorable
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Cinder-Eyed Cats
  • Bad Day at Riverbend
  • Every Autumn Comes the Bear
  • Fog Island
  • Pegasus
  • The Book of Beasts
  • Irena's Jars of Secrets
  • Rome Antics
  • Fa Mulan: The Story of a Woman Warrior
  • The Dragon and the Unicorn
  • Archie
  • Cat Heaven
  • The Three Golden Keys
  • The Secret Box
  • Miss Spider's Wedding
  • Augustine
  • Betsy and the Boys
  • Cows to the Rescue
William Joyce does a lot of stuff—films, apps, Olympic curling—but children’s books are his true bailiwick (The Numberlys, The Man in the Moon, Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King, Toothiana, and the #1 New York Times bestselling The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which is also an Academy Award–winning short film, to name a few). He lives with his family in Shre ...more
More about William Joyce...

Share This Book

“The garden is a miraculous place, and anything can happen on a beautiful moonlit night.” 2 likes
More quotes…