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“I’ve learned a lot today, detective,” Scratch said, “My family does care about me, and I need to control my temper.” –Bad Bugs Are My Business
Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective: Bad Bugs Are My Business
by David Biedrzycki
AR Test, Picture Book
5 – 8
While on the way to the bank, someone knocks Scratch over the head and takes his money. The upset flea is desperate to find the culprit, so he goes to detective Ace Lacewing. The detective bug discovers that Scratch has a lot of enemies—a hissing roach, a carpenter ant, and bo weevil.
Ace’s investigation takes him to Scratch’s amusement park, where he goes through the Termite Tower of Terror, Anteater Falls, and the House of Mirrors. Ace’s girlfriend and Police Sergeant Zito “The Mosquito” join Ace on his investigation. Will Ace be able to find the missing money?
Bad Bugs Are My Business uses first-person narration, which allows Ace’s personality to shine. Throughout the story, the characters use some funny insect humor. For example, while interrogating a ladybug, Ace says, “Seems like someone was trying to play flatten-the-flea with your boyfriend.”
As Ace talks to possible thieves, each one points the finger at someone else, which helps propel the story forward. In the end, it’s Ace’s knowledge of insects that allows him to solve the crime. The story has some interesting insect facts and reinforces the importance of family. Unfortunately, the message is watered down because the thief is the one who talks about the importance of family. He says, “You don’t have family, you don’t have nothin’.” In the end, the thief used his “little pupae” to hide his crime.
The picture book’s illustrations bring the bugs’ world to life with bright colors. Readers will have fun looking for all of the insect references. For example, while a group of bugs rides a roller coaster, they pass a sign that reads, “Please Keep Antenna and Legs inside.” The detailed illustrations have so many fun elements that readers will want to look at them again and again. While several pages have no words, many of the other pages are text-heavy and include up to 9 sentences. Even though Bad Bugs Are My Business is a picture book, the story is intended to be read aloud to a child, rather than for the child to read it for the first time independently.
Readers may not understand all of the story’s lessons, such as paying workers a fair wage. Despite this, the basic plot is easy to understand, and Ace’s investigation is fast-paced and interesting. Young readers who are looking for a fun detective story will enjoy Bad Bugs Are My Business. This creative story has all of the enjoyable elements of a mystery.
- When Scratch was heading to the bank, “Bam! He got hit on the head with a carpenter aunt’s toolbox.”
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