________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 7 . . . . November 23, 2007

cover

Bug. (The Adventures of Bug & Frogger).

Frank B. Edwards. Illustrated by John Bianchi.
Kingston, ON: Pokeweed Press (Distributed by Fitzhenry & Whiteside), 2007.
165 pp., pbk., $7.95.
ISBN 978-1-894323-17-8.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Mary Thomas.

**** /4

excerpt:

"And we're leaving when? Next week?"

"Tonight, as soon as we get packed. I'm going to get the truck this morning--I signed all the papers for it last night on my way home from the store--and while I'm picking up the shoes at the warehouse, you'll stay here and pack everything in boxes. When I get back, we'll hit the road. No good-byes or fare-thee-wells. No regrets. The Hapensaks are on the move."

"Walter, what about me?" she protested, calling him by his first name, as she had since she was a toddler. "Dad" had never been part of her vocabulary. 

"Bug, I'm doing this for you. We don't have a future here. You've been complaining for a year about having to go to junior high in the Flats. You haven't brought a friend home for two years. We don't have a life here anymore. We're barely surviving in this stuffy, cramped apartment. We're going to suffocate one of these days. The only thing I've got left is you--and a hunch that things are going to work out great."

"And don't forget our truckload of 1,000 pairs of shoes," Bug added.

"Not pairs, Bug. Single unmatched shoes. No two alike. Trust me, this is going to work out just great."

 

Bug is an old-fashioned, feel-good story about a 12-year-old “adult” named Bug (because she was 'cute as a ...' when she was a baby) and her “young-boy” father Walter. The two of them do a flit from their crummy city apartment, investing all their meager savings in a not-quite-derelict dump truck which they fill with their worldly goods and a thousand new but unmatched sports shoes. Walter's eternal optimism has decided that this load is to be the basis on which they are going to make their fortunes and establish their futures. Bug is less sure, but she is used to Walter's hare-brained schemes, and goes along with this one. She doesn't have much choice, really--Walter's been laid off from his job as a shoe salesman, the truck has been bought, the pick-up of the shoes arranged, and the rent on the apartment is due the next week.

     Off they go to conquer the country. And they succeed, after a roller-coaster ride of good and bad luck which includes making friends with Frogger, who at almost 12 is the youngest member of the Tichburg volunteer fire department (and the hero of Frogger, the prequel of the present book), tangling with a bunch of vindictive bullies, selling a good fraction of the shoes, losing the money when the parked truck rolls into the river, and so on. But through ups, downs and sideways, there's always Bug and her charming rapscallion of a father, both of whom are well worth meeting.

     Bug is not a dark novel full of teenaged angst and introspection. It is set in the idyllic world of Understood Betsy and Homer Price, where 'folks' are neighborly, mostly good, and it is safe to eat a piece of pie in the company of an older man whom you've just met. It's funny, nostalgic, and a splendid warm place to sink into when you need your faith in humankind renewed, along with a bit of straight uncomplicated fun. When Frogger was first published in 2000, Sarah Ellis said that it was 'comfortable.' 'Cozy' is I think a better way to describe it, and I loved it.

Highly Recommended.

Mary Thomas works in an elementary school library in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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