Thursday, June 6, 2013

Middle Grades Pick: In Search of Goliathus Hercules

In Search of Goliathus Hercules
by Jennifer Angus
Albert Whiteman & Company
2013
350 pages

for more, visit the author's website

Smart, satisfying and sensational, In Search of Goliathus Hercules is an adventure story with real bite (pun intended). When ten year old Henri Bell is shipped off to Woodland Farm in the United States to live with his ninety year old Great Aunt Georgie, he is crestfallen. Henri discovers he has a  strange  gift--he can hear and understand insects. His first bugg-y friend is a housefly named Dom.

Henri's mother writes that she is going in search of his missing father who was last heard from in British Malaya. Henri spends his days playing outside, staying out of Great Aunt Georgie's way  and avoiding his scary neighbor Mrs. Black--who seems to be studying him each time he sees her. Henri visits the circus and takes a job as a flea trainer, leaving behind Woodland Farm and Great Aunt Georgie.

Traveling with the circus and making new  friends excites Henri; he is going in search of Goliathus Hercules, a rare insect that Dom insists is real. Henri is not the only one interested in the rare beast. Someone else is looking for Goliathus and this is someone who  has evil intentions--both for the beast and the boy. Henri's quest will take him to foreign lands as he searches for Goliathus and any news about his father's whereabouts. The more Henri communicates with insects, the stranger he begins to feel.

Readers are in for a real treat. In Search of Goliathus Hercules is that rare book where a boy (or girl) can talk to animals (Charlotte's Web, Gregor the Overlander) and travel  on a long quest or journey (Gregor the Overlander, The Oracle of Delphi Keep). The ending of this novel will delight, excite and amaze. Beautiful illustrations of insects are done by the author and they are simply brilliant!

Highly, highly recommended grade 4-up.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)


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