Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective: Bad Bugs Are My Business
David Biedrzycki, author & illustrator
David has collaborated with children's author Jerry Pallotta on The Beetle Alphabet Book, The Boat Alphabet Book, and The Freshwater Alphabet Book. David is currently a freelance illustrator. He grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from Kutztown University. He lives in Medfield, Massachusetts.
Read more about David.
It's all about family in the chitinous crime solver's latest caper. When Scratch Murphy, a flea with a big lump on his head and a bigger chip on his shoulder, stomps in announcing that he's been robbed of the proceeds from newly opened Six Legs Amusement Park, Ace and his blue bombshell sidekick Xerces waste no time flitting into action. But the ground is thick with suspects, from aggrieved cotton-candy vendor Bo Weevil and his boll-full of larvae to Scratch's twin brother Scritch. Muted colors add just a hint of noir to buggy illustrations festooned with sight gags, side business and insect vendors abuzz over attractions like the Park's anteater slide and the Termite Tower of Terror. Though Biedrzycki only depicts the coolly elegant private eyes and everyone else in the cast with but four limbs, it's a bit of real natural history that at last furnishes Ace with the clue that breaks the case and sends the malefactor packing. Here's just more proof that there's no room in Motham for bad guys--er, bugs--with Ace on the case.
School Library Journal
Ace Lacewing is back to solve another mystery. Scratch Murphy, the owner of Six Legs Park, is knocked unconscious by a falling toolbox–presumably the property of a disgruntled carpenter ant–and wakes to find his flea bag empty and his money gone. Ace discovers that his client has a lot of enemies, including a fly-by-night roach in the banking business; Scratch’s twin brother, Scritch; and a weevil with over-the-top parenting skills. Ace’s blue-eyed gal Xerces and Police Sergeant Zito “The Mosquito” are with him every step of the way. When the solution hits Ace “like a flyswatter,” a run for the money ensues through the Termite Tower of Terror, Anteater Falls, and House of Mirrors. Ace’s first-person narration and snappy dialogue are true to the hard-boiled detective genre, as is the cast of characters. The illustrations, done in pencil and digitally colored, fairly glow. The many insect references (“Flypaper Awareness Week” and “Keep Your Antennae and Legs Inside Ride”) in the colorful spreads are a true delight. Mystery fans and insect enthusiasts will enjoy a one-on-one reading with plenty of time to savor the clever wordplay and insect-related details. They will also want to find Ace’s first adventure, Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective.
School Library Journal, Focus on: Mysteries
When the Six Legs Amusement Park is robbed, it's up to the bug-eyed sleuth and his bombshell sidekick, Xerces, to case the scene of the crime and finger the culprit. Side business and sight gags galore liven up the illustrations in this faithful tribute to Dashiell Hammett and his hardboiled descendants.
Curled Up with a Good Kid's Book
There's no one quite like this private investigator. Ace Lacewing, bug detective, specializes in the cases that might bug other sleuths but are right up his alley. In this caper, Ace and his associates are called in to assist Scratch Murphy, the flea who owns Six Legs Park, in finding a bag of missing money.
On his way to the bank, Scratch is hit on the head with a carpenter ant's toolbox; when he wakes, the money has vanished. The two main suspects in the heist are Bo Weevil and Scratch's girlfriend, Lady DeBug. Although the evidence seems to point to Miss DeBug, a break in the case in the form of a green child's pram is discovered just in time to avoid a major miscarriage of justice.
After an exciting chase through Six Legs Park, Ace recovers the loot, although the miscreant escapes. No matter! Scratch is happy to get his money back and PI Lacewing can stamp another case "Solved!"
This humorous send-up of detective fiction will most likely amuse children five years of age and older, but likely only their parents will grasp the finer points of the parody.
You'll discover some subtle material embedded in the story about the life cycles of insects, and there are also visual clues sprinkled along the way that should help you identify the real culprit. See if you and your child can pick them out.
Ace Lacewing, the best detective in town, has a new case to solve. The client, a small flea named Scratch Murphy who owns Six Legs Amusement Park, has a big problem: someone hit him on the head with a toolbox and stole his flea bag stuffed with money. Without that money, Scratch cannot pay back the construction loan he took out from the bank. Armed with his keen detective skills and trusty companions, Ace Lacewing loses no time in digging for clues and interrogating the suspects. The banker needed money for an expensive trip; the carpenter ants had gone on strike over their low wages; Bo Weevil was hopping mad that Scratch had put Bo’s cotton candy stand right next to a competing honey stand; and Scratch’s girl-friend and his brother were observed exchanging a suspicious package. Everyone has a motive, so who stole the money?
Young readers of all ages will enjoy this fast-paced and clever book. Not only do the bug puns come fast and furious, the marvelous illustrations add a wealth of bug humor and visual detail. On top of the wit, the author uses a number of economic incentives to shape the suspects’ motives, making Bad Bugs Are My Business a truly satisfying read all-around.
The Children's Hour
Scratch Murphy turns to detective Ace Lacewing to find his missing bag of money. Ace’s sleuthing leads to the Carpenter Ants Union, Six Legs Amusement Park, Bo Weevil, Lady De Bug, and Scritch, Scratch’s twin brother. Along with his girl Friday and Police Sergeant Zito, “The Mosquito”, they nab the runaway culprit and teach Scratch a lesson in anger management. This follow-up to Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective will have children asking for more buggy detective stories.
Through The Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews
One day a small flea called Scratch Murphy walks in Ace Lacewing's detective agency door. Scratch explains that a lot of money that he was taking to the bank to repay a loan was stolen from him. He was on his way to the bank with the money when a carpenter ant toolbox was dropped on his head (he has the bump to prove it). When he came to, his bag of money was gone.
Ace takes on Scratch's case and soon he and his "gal," Xerces, are talking to the bank manager. Though the roach does appear to be flush with money, he refuses to talk, so Ace decides to try to find out who "might be out to exterminate Scratch Murphy."
Certainly, the carpenter ants aren't very keen on Scratch, but they are not the only ones who would like to "scratch Scratch out." Ace decides to have a chat with Bo Weevil, who apparently fought with Scratch all the time. Though Bo has a reason to be mad with Scratch, he is a very paternal bug, and he doesn't seem like the violent type. He suggests that Ace should talk to Ace's girlfriend, Lady DeBug. When Ace and Xerces meet the elegant ladybug, they discover that all is not what it seems. Could it be that the thief was a member of Scratch's family?
In this amusing Ace Lacewing mystery, the famous bug detective once again solves a puzzling crime, interviewing suspects and finally uncovering the villain responsible for the theft of Scratch's money. Clever word play and deliciously detailed illustrations make this a title that adults will be happy to share with their children.
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Page count: 44
10 x 10