#BookReview: Superbeetle

“Your respect for others will be your ticket to success.”

Superbeetle by S. Michele Chen

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4 stars

Pros:

  • Taiwan setting
  • Chinese words


Cons:

  • Some flat characters
  • Modern family dynamics* (see note below)

 

I was super excited to get ahold of this. Because of its vibrant cover, I actually thought this would be a picture book. (Warning: If your kids don’t like bugs, the cover might put them off.) However, it’s actually a lovely chapter book with images scattered throughout the pages.

I liked how the setting is in Taiwan, and it was great having an honest portrayal of a child who needs to go see extended relatives in a different country but feels awkward doing so. The fantastical aspect of Superbeetle and his amazing writing ability also drew me in. I would have liked some of the side characters in the story (like the grandmother) to be more developed, but this book is geared towards kids so it’s not really a problem for younger readers.

I admired how Chen defined Chinese words throughout the book. However, I did find some a little simplistic (e.g. potstickers) and thought the audience might already be familiar with them. Also, some of the pronunciation is a bit off from what it actually sounds like in Mandarin.

One warning note*: There is mention of divorce in the beginning of the book. So I had to explain that concept (on the fly) in further detail when reading this story out loud.

An important and fun-paced chapter book about culture, Taiwan, and bugs.

Find more of my book ratings and reviews here.

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