10 Little Insects

Overview

A hilarious, innovative riff on Agatha Christie's celebrated whodunnit 10 Little Indians, in graphic novel form 

For discerning readers who have been crying out for a book featuring a stick insect famous for doing impressions of sticks, a detective with a sidekick who is a three-week old larva, a preying mantis who is deadly with a drinks trolley, and a fly who is just there for the dung—your luck has finally turned! In this ...

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Overview

A hilarious, innovative riff on Agatha Christie's celebrated whodunnit 10 Little Indians, in graphic novel form 

For discerning readers who have been crying out for a book featuring a stick insect famous for doing impressions of sticks, a detective with a sidekick who is a three-week old larva, a preying mantis who is deadly with a drinks trolley, and a fly who is just there for the dung—your luck has finally turned! In this innovative graphic novel for younger readers, 10 very different insects, each with something to hide, are brought together to a mysterious house on a secluded island for the weekend. Then, one by one, they start dying in very unusual circumstances. But all is not as it seems, as Cali and Pianina delightfully subvert the whodunnit genre with a story that is at once brilliant, baffling, laugh-out-loud funny, and somewhat surreal.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Younger readers may not be familiar with Christie’s Ten Little Indians, but they’ll be hooked by the plot gambit of trapping a group of suspects in a mansion and knocking them off one by one—if they can stand all the corpses, that is. French writer Cali (The Great House Hunt) minimizes the trauma by casting insects as the victims, which also affords him opportunities for poo humor (about a fly: “He must have run into some dung and decided to stop for a snack!”) and macabre jokes. “I’ve never done anything bad apart from tearing off my husband’s head before eating him,” says Mrs. Mantis, one of the servants. Too bad—she’s the next to go. Pianina’s fine lines, candy-colored palette, and stage-set mansion backgrounds offer Krazy Kat–style whimsy, while the charming detective Gafard anchors the story, delivering traditional whodunit deductions: “And who’s to say that the murderer is one of us?” Though the ending doesn’t entirely satisfy—the whole fiasco is the fault of bureaucratic error—it still delivers engaging, Continental-style entertainment, with echoes of Hergé along with Christie. Ages 9–12. (June)
From the Publisher

"Features inventive, whimsical mixed-media illustrations. . . . An intriguing offering that will open up discussion."  —Booklist on The Bear with the Sword

"Delivers engaging, Continental-style entertainment, with echoes of Hergé along with Christie." —Publishers Weekly

School Library Journal
01/01/2014
Gr 6–10—This graphic-novel homage to Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None finds 10 bugs drawn to a mysterious weekend getaway on a remote island. As the hours tick by, the members of the motley crew meet untimely deaths in a variety of macabre ways: poison, freezing, electrocution, being eaten by a fish, and getting beheaded amid secret passages. The title is filled with Victorian spookiness, until only a detective and his assistant sail away with their lives. The boldly colored art in the cartoon panels, while simple, holds some hilarious details that will have readers chuckling. The size and format may turn off potential readers who see a picture book rather than a gruesome murder mystery but reluctant readers will find more than enough to engage and amuse them.—Marge Loch-Wouters, La Crosse Public Library, WI
Kirkus Reviews
A remote island and a weekend getaway, with murder on the menu. Think Agatha Christie's classic Ten Little Indians retold as a graphic novel, an inspiration that Cali's characters freely reference in the story. These characters, guests on remote Tortoise Island, are various insects: a fly called McFly, who comes in on an airplane; green Mr. Krikkit, who plays a guitar; the tall, yellow, segmented Johnny Nail; and others. Each thinks he's coming for a different reason: a medical conference, swim meet, etc. An ominous recorded voice upbraids all assembled for unspecified misdeeds and predicts their imminent deaths. (The female praying mantis admits to tearing off her husband's head and then eating him, but that's just normal mantis behavior.) Accusations, search parties and crazy killings follow. One insect is poisoned when cider is added to the dung all are feasting on; another is locked in the freezer; a third drowns while trying to swim to the mainland for help. Secret tunnels, a mysterious lighthouse, a skull and a séance all figure into the twisty tongue-in-cheek plot. The storytelling is ably carried along by Cali's punnish narrative and Pianina's colorful cartoon panels, which run from five to 10 per page. The playful cover and book size falsely imply a story for young children, but it's more for preteens and even teens. Bright and altogether engaging; aspiring entomologists should find it extra amusing. (Graphic mystery. 10-15)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780987109910
  • Publisher: Wilkins Farago Pty Ltd
  • Publication date: 5/1/2013
  • Pages: 80
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Davide Cali is one of Europe's most innovative and acclaimed writers for children. He is the author of more than 20 illustrated books, including The Enemy: A Book About Peace, Mama Robot, and Santa's Suit. Vincent Pianina is an acclaimed illustrator. In 2010 his work was selected for Rue d'Artico, a prestigious anthology showcasing the work of Europe's top young illustrators.

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