The Lizard War by Patton

battlebugsMax loves bugs. All kinds of bugs. So when his mother brings him an ancient book of bugs and corresponding magnifying glass you can imagine his excitement! That enthusiasm quickly turns to terror when he finds himself on an island in the book, small, and facing an Emperor Scorpion!

The Lizard War
Battle Bugs (Book 1)
by Jack Patton
Scholastic

Somehow, Max finds himself inside the book, on the map in the center of it on Bug Island. Another island, hosting the Lizard Empire, has recently had an eruption of their local volcano where the lava has formed a land bridge to Bug Island. The lizards are now filing across the new bridge to the massive amounts of food (bugs) available on this island. Max, lacking all the cool powers and abilities of bugs uses the one thing humans have that bugs don’t – his large brain – to help the bugs fight back.

But that’s not exactly how it goes though. The story is full of loop holes in logic and storytelling. Max is at heart a lover of nature but for some reason he dislikes lizards – who are evil because they eat bugs, but bugs that eat bugs are not evil, like the spider or scorpion he befriends – and sides with the bugs. [SPOILERS] His big brain helps in two very small ways, 1) telling the bugs to attack the lizards on the nostrils, and 2) telling them to escape across a fast moving stream by cutting down a tree. Neither of those ideas display knowledge of bug specific abilities or human specific knowledge. You could say that the beetle cuts down the tree because they chew through wood to be bug specific, but why didn’t the beetle think of it? The “Battle” bugs don’t actually fight much, and the story ends with them running away across the stream and Max going back home. [END SPOILERS]

In the end, you don’t have much or a story at all. Almost nothing happens. No character development. No battles. Very little learning about the bugs. It’s a big shrug. I let my science loving 8 year old read it and he gave up, calling it boring.

This is a cross between Honey I Shrunk the Kids (shrinking and adventure) and Ant Bully (but where Max actually likes bugs) but it’s not as funny and much less happens. In my opinion, there isn’t much to recommend it.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

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