David R. Godine Publishers

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The Titles

Ned Kelly and the City of the Bees, by T. Keneally
Trouble in Bugland, A Collection of Inspector Mantis Mysteries, by W. Kotzwinkle

The Reviews

Ned Kelly and the City of the Bees

by T. Keneally

ISBN = 1 56792 022 5
Price = $11.95
Published = 1978
Review written = 16/March/1997
pages 126
This is a delightful story, though officially designated as a children's story, I think not only children but any adult whose mind and spirit are still alive will enjoy reading this. Set in Australia it is the story of a young boy, Ned Kelly, who is visited by a bee while he is lying in hospital with appendicitis. The bee, Apis, gives Ned a drop of a golden liquid that shrinks him so that he can ride off on her back with Nancy Clancy a 120 year girl who has been living with the hive since she was 10 years old. Ned spends the summer in the hive with Nancy, learning about the hive and having fun meeting Selma the Queen, Romeo the lovesick drone and Basil the activist drone as well as surviving an attack by the dreaded wasps. This book is amazingly accurate in its science and is I think an excellent way for children to learn something about these wonderful animals. It does in fact contain one error which is not terrible important but I mention it here for accuracies sake. When Basil is describing the future of life for a drone he say that the Queen only mates with one drone on her nuptial flight, in fact the young queen will mate with about a dozen drones under normal circumstances. This book, by the author of "Schindler's List", is both entertaining, educational and well written and I would recommend it to anyone as a good fun read, I thoroughly enjoyed it myself.
highly Recommended

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Trouble in Bugland, A Collection of Inspector Mantis Mysteries

by W. Kotzwinkle

ISBN = 1 56792 070 5
Price = $14.95
Published = 1996
Review written = 16/March/1997
152 pages
This is another very entertaining read aimed primarily at children but which will also entertain those adults who are still enjoying life. It was recommended to me by a fellow entomologist and I am in her debt. The stories are cleverly constructed, easy to read, and delightfully filled with wonderful characters all of whom are arthropods, mostly insects. Inspector Mantis is modelled on Sherlock Holms and his Dr Watson is Dr Hopper, well know fiddle player and long jump expert with a taste for the easy life, and a fondness for fudge and popcorn. In a series of 5 lovely stories you can follow the incredible Inspector as he thwarts a series of fiendishly evil antagonists in their attempts to cause mayhem in the peace loving country of Bugland. The animal characters are all remarkably faithful to their models, except the evil Tarantula who unfortunately appears to be a mixture of several spiders. All in all I found these stories to be highly enjoyable and I would recommend them to anyone, but particularly to kids who like bugs.
Highly Recommended

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