Rhino-B is a brash, but sweet guy. Stag-B is a calm and scholarly adventurer. Together these two young beetles make up the Bug Boys, best friends who spend their time exploring the world of Bug Village and beyond, as well as their own - sometimes confusing and complicated - thoughts and feelings.
In their first adventure, the Bug Boys travel through spooky caves, work with a spider to found a library, save their town's popular honey supply from extinction, and even make friends with ferocious termites! What challenges will these two earnest beetles face? Whatever it is, you can be sure that Rhino-B and Stag-B will face it together -- with the power of friendship behind them.
Knetzger's graphic novel, the first in a planned duology, stars two friends: Rhino-B, a tenderhearted rhinoceros beetle, and erudite stag beetle Stag-B, who live together in a mushroom cottage. The first of several episodes starts out low-key as the bug boys follow a treasure map--and find only an old copper necklace. ("Well, at least we had fun," Rhino-B says.) But excitement ramps steadily upward even as the tone remains introspective, and the two are soon helping to untangle a tense feud between bees and termites, and encountering phosphorescent energy that leads them on a hallucinatory cave journey. Throughout, Knetzger, formerly a storyboard artist for Adventure Time, renders the friends and their surroundings in clean lines and gentle pastels, giving the pages a distinctive visual signature. As the vignettes proceed, the volume tackles sophisticated themes--everything from social history ("Our Bug Village was founded by refugees of your war," Stag-B says) to personal beliefs ("Wishing to it calms me and makes me feel better") and metaphysics ("your mind is the smallest denomination of world 'cause only you live in it"). Lying beneath Knetzger's rich bug universe is the quiet reminder that even parts of the environment that appear simple or insignificant may reveal a world every bit as complex as our own. Ages 7-10. (Feb.)Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Gr 3-6—Meet the Bug Boys. Rough-and-tumble Rhino-B and studious bibliophile Stag-B are best friends who love exploring Bug Village. This warm, tender volume is full of loosely connected stories of the two beetles' adventures. Rhino-B and Stag-B discover hidden treasures in nature, revel in their differences, and express gratitude for their friendship. Their encounters with other creatures, including bees, termites, spiders, a dragonfly, and a mole, help them learn lessons. A surreal tale sees each beetle immersed in either depression or mania and emerging from the experience thanks to the embrace of friendship—a theme echoed throughout the book. No matter what the problem is, the solution always involves characters clearly communicating and discussing their feelings, and though the beetles and their friends may disagree, they are quick to forgive and celebrate one another. Knetzger's upbeat cartoons are bathed in bright greens, yellows, and pinks, with some dark blues and black—the perfect palette for a natural setting. VERDICT This gentle romp through nature will be paradise for readers, who will find themselves wishing they could be the third beetle in the Bug Boys' group.—Thomas Maluck, Richland Library, SCCopyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.