Bug BFFs marvel over natural wonders in their bucolic microcosm.
In this graphic-novel sequel to Bug Boys (2020), beetle best friends Stag-B and Rhino-B have more quiet adventures told in tiny vignettes. The duo ventures out of their quiet home, Bug Village, seeing new surroundings with wide-eyed awe and contemplating their roles within these settings. In “The Ultimate S’mores,” the pair go on a camping trip, and Stag-B feels inferior when compared to Rhino-B’s outdoorsy know-how until they decide to talk about their feelings, which helps Stag-B realize his own valuable strengths. In “The Pearl Dragon’s Castle,” the bugs explore a mysterious tower that seems to change uncannily with every step they take. They encounter a strange lavender dragon who claims to need help, leading them on a journey from frustration to collaboration. In the final tale, “Wave’s World,” they help a bat find a lost magical earring; riding on its back and gazing at their village from aloft, they admire the beauty of the night. Knetzger’s tiny tales are rambling and often surreal, thoughtfully examining both the beautiful complexity of nature and one’s place therein. With a muted, earth-toned palette, her illustrations firmly anchor readers in this intricately whimsical world. Perhaps not a splashy crowd pleaser, this sophomore effort may fare best when put in the hands of those seeking that which is both philosophical and introspective.
A dreamlike and existential rumination.(Graphic fantasy. 9-12)