Author: Elise Broach
Published: On shelves today
Marvin and James share an apartment, but they’ve never traded so much as a “hello.” That’s because James is a human boy and Marvin is a beetle.
Their friendship starts the day that Marvin uses James’ new ink set to draw him a perfect copy of the view from the boy’s window, in miniature, of course. James is delighted with the gift for its own sake, but when his mother spots it, he has to lie that he drew it. Of course, this plunges both him and Marvin into a web of lies about about his supposed genius for miniatures.
They wind up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the lies get bigger as James and his “gift” are drafted to help with an elaborate sting meant to catch art thieves with a faked Albrecht Dürer, the Renaissance master of miniatures. Of course, even that’s not the end of it. How will James and Marvin ever get themselves out of this one?
As complex and confusing as I’m making this sound, there’s one theme that anchors this story, and everything else is pretty much window dressing. Dürer and art theft aside, it’s really about the friendship between James and Marvin. Even though they’ve just met and they never exchange a single word, it clearly runs deep from the very first moment, and both characters will go further for each other than they ever would for themselves.
Bugs, adventure, friendship . . . this is a great book for just about any kid.