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Dr Bartholomew Cuttle wasn’t the kind of man who mysteriously disappeared. He was the kind of man who read enormous old books at the dinner table and got fried egg stuck in his beard. He was the kind of man who always lost his keys, and never took an umbrella on rainy days. He was the kind of dad who might be five minutes late picking you up from school, but he always came. More than anything else, Darkus knew his dad was not the kind of father who would abandon his thirteen-year-old son.
The police report stated that the 27th of September had been an unremarkable Tuesday. Dr Bartholomew Cuttle, a 48-year-old widower, had taken his son, Darkus Cuttle, to school and gone on to the Natural History Museum, where he was the Director of Science.

About the book

Darkus is miserable. His dad has disappeared, and now he is living next door to the most disgusting neighbours ever.

A giant beetle called Baxter comes to his rescue. But can the two solve the mystery of his dad’s disappearance, especially when links emerge to cruel Lucretia Cutter and her penchant for beetle jewellery? A coffee-mug mountain, home to a million insects, could provide the answer – if Darkus and Baxter are brave enough to find it …

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Press reviews

“I loved Beetle Boy. It is at once engaging, creepy (bound to be), funny and full of excitement. Truly great storytelling.”

Michael Morpurgo, author

“A darkly funny Dahl-esque adventure that will captivate readers. You’ll be cheering on young hero Darkus and his amazing army of exotic beetles as they go head-to-head with a fabulously terrifying villain.”

Katherine Woodfine, author

Beetle Boy by [M.G. Leonard] is a fantastic read! Dahlian villains, epic den building, ingenious beetles and children you root for from the off. Wonderful’”

Abi Elphinstone, author

“… I found Darkus’s story to be really funny, quite scary and totally engrossing.”

David Litchfield, illustrator

“Bug me! This is as good as it gets! This book will have you scuttling with joy! Beetlelicious, fantastic fun for everyone. I was crawling with joy from every page that I read. Gross, funny and heart warming – a flapping great read, this book has imagination with wings.”

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

“If you’ve always regarded beetles as something unpleasant to be chased away from picnics, then this romp of a mystery thriller may change your attitude”

Daily Mail

“Filled with dastardly villains and plucky children, Beetle Boy is reminiscent of classic children’s books such as One Hundred and One Dalmatians and Paddington but roots itself firmly in the 21st century. I loved it.”

Charlotte Eyre, The Bookseller

“Parents be warned: this enchanting story is likely to make beetles very popular pets.”

Daily Telegraph

“Roald Dahl meets 101 Dalmatians in a rollicking ride, full of adventure with vivid characters.”

Daily Express

“Reminscent of Roald Dahl”

Fiona Noble, The Bookseller

Beetle Boy will make you look at beetles in a new light. It’s a wonderfully funny and engaging book, which is full of action, adventure and delightful illustrations.”


“I really enjoyed Beetle Boy and it’s great sense of adventure. It felt like Indiana Jones meets David Attenborough wrapped up in a great kid’s novel … A joyous debut that was educational and entertaining with every turn of the page. Thumbs up!”

Sister Spooky

“Leonard’s exceptional debut is exciting and educational.”

The Mail on Sunday

“A wonderful book, full to the brim with very cool beetles!”

The Guardian

Author notes

'Ever since I was little I’ve been frightened of creepy-crawlies. Then I found out that beetles can be pretty, brightly coloured, even gold. Others are as strong as the Incredible Hulk. Some shoot acid out of their butts, and all beetles have wings! My fear had stopped me from seeing how fantastic beetles were, and so I decided to write an adventure with the beetles as the good guys.'

Beetle Boy in the news

Beetle Boy is a Tom Fletcher Book Club pick!

Here at Chicken House we are very excited to announce that Beetle Boy by M.G. Leonard has been selected for the first-ever Tom Fletcher Book Club, exclusive to WHSmith!

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M.G. Leonard on Beetle Boy winning the Branford Boase Award

Beetle Boy author M.G. Leonard gives us the gif-filled lowdown on her winning night ...

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