Angus, Jennifer, In Search of Goliathus Hercules. Pgs. 350. Albert Whitman and Company, 2013. $17.99. Language: G, Mature Content: PG, Violence: PG
Henri Bell’s life changes dramatically when he learns he can talk to insects. When he befriend some fleas in a circus act, he decides to join as Maestro Antonio’s assistant. Strange things start to happen to him, however, as more time passes. Soon he finds himself losing his hair, growing insect parts, and acting more and more like an insect. Determined to become a well-known entomologist, Henri decides to go with his friends to British Malaya. There, he wants to track down the Goliathus Hercules, a legendary large insect. But, Madame Noir, aka Agatha Black aka a lot of other people, is elusive and determined to capture the same insect. She’s willing to kill anyone who gets in her path, including Henri’s father and Henri. What really happened to Henri’s father? Who really is Madame Noir? Why can Henri talk to insects? Is he becoming an insect?
The plot is unique and well developed. The use of unusual photographs seen through history is entertaining and clever. The book drags in parts, but the humorous dynamic between Henri, the fleas, and his other friends at the circus draws the reader into Henri’s world. The ending ends unusually and there are lot of plot twists and turns that make this book an interesting read for fantasy adventure fans. Readers who like a little bit of science mixed in their fantasy or who have always wanted talk to animals will enjoy reading this book. EL. OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.