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Beetle McGrady Eats Bugs!    by Megan McDonald & Jane Manning order for
Beetle McGrady Eats Bugs!
by Megan McDonald
Order:  USA  Can
Greenwillow, 2005 (2005)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Beetle McGrady dreams of becoming an explorer or a pioneer, like Amelia Earhart or Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her dreams take a new turn during Mr. Ripley's science class's Fun with Food Week. As classmates select pictures to build a food pyramid, Beetle chooses an ant, and decides to start her own 'food group'. Friends Mona, Roger, and Lacey 'dare double dare' Beetle to eat an ant. She agrees to do so the next day, so practices that night by eating potato chips ... crunch!

On Friday, Chef Suzanne visits the class to talk about food. And what does she choose for show and tell? Yup, plates of toasted crickets, ants, and bugs cooked in different recipes - even cookies! Beetle eats some bugs, commenting that 'caterpillars taste like corn chips ... Crunch! Glug!' Within the two-page spread on the inside of the front and back cover is a list of 'Beetle's Tips For Eating Bugs', such as, 'To help cure bad breath, bite off the rear end of a honeypot ant and chew', and 'Feeling tired? Forget to take your vitamins? Termites are full of iron.'

Megan McDonald's inspiration for Beetle McGrady Eats Bugs! came from her own experience at Bug Day at the Randall Museum in San Francisco, where she tasted her first insect. McDonald has authored the best-selling Judy Moody series. Illustrator Jane Manning has not yet eaten a bug, prefering to 'observe them in nature'. Manning's pictures are finely-defined watercolors, featuring Beetle's red-haired pigtails and freckles, and a few bugs carrying protest signs - 'Termite Power!' and 'Save the Stinkbugs'. McDonald and Manning have created an imaginative, delicious book.

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