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In Search of Goliathus Hercules

Review

In Search of Goliathus Hercules

Author and illustrator, Jennifer Angus, creates a captivating story of a boy and his passion for insects. Her writing is reminiscent of Kafka’s METAMORPHOSIS, as well as variations of Victorian folklore and fairytales, including THE BEE MAN OF ORN by Frank Richard Stockton. Angus portrays her whimsical entomological art through her writing in this remarkable tale of a boy who is in for an amazing adventure.

"IN SEARCH OF GOLIATHUS HERCULES is an interesting tale that takes a few creepy turns into the insect realm, which keeps the reader guessing if Henri Bell will eventually become one of his six-legged friends in the end."

Henri Bell was born in London, but soon after his father went missing on a voyage to work as a superintendent in Malaya, Henri moves with his Great-Aunt Georgie in America. He notices his great-aunt has an extensive button collection --- most of the buttons had carvings of insects on them. Henri is curious as to why his great aunt was so found of insects until one day, Dom the fly speaks to him while reading a newspaper on the windowsill. This astonished Henri and he wonder if his great-aunt could communicate with insects, as well. One day, Great-Aunt Georgie takes Henri over to her neighbor Agatha Black’s house. Agatha Black is a tall woman who always dresses as if she were in mourning. She is a wicked woman, with a malicious, toothy grin. Unlike Henri’s great aunt, she despises insects and enjoys sticking them with pins to display in her collection.

A circus is in town and Henri’s attention is drawn to a flea circus where he becomes close friends with the Maestro and soon lands a job as an assistant. He travels the world using his extraordinary talents as an insect interpreter; he also makes the Maestro’s flea circus the most popular attraction. Henri longs to find his father so he makes it his mission to discover the giant insect, Goliathus Hercules, that his father set off to find. Henri travels throughout the world, discovering more clues as to where his father may be. Agatha Black traces every move Henri makes, disguising herself so she won’t be recognized. As Henri gets closer to his quest for Goliathus Hercules, he notices he's resembling an insect more and more each day. His eyes become larger, his hair falls out, and he even grows another set of hands!

Angus’s story is filled with mysteries and the macabre. The reading level may be a little advanced for an eight-year-old, but definitely suitable for ages ten and up. The book is broken-up into four parts, which would also work as a series. IN SEARCH OF GOLIATHUS HERCULES is an interesting tale that takes a few creepy turns into the insect realm, which keeps the reader guessing if Henri Bell will eventually become one of his six-legged friends in the end.

Reviewed by Sheena Kowalski on March 18, 2013

In Search of Goliathus Hercules
by Jennifer Angus

  • Publication Date: March 1, 2013
  • Genres: Adventure, Children's, Fiction
  • Hardcover: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
  • ISBN-10: 0807529907
  • ISBN-13: 9780807529904