K-Gr 2-Adult themes and attractive artwork combine to create an imaginative book with little child appeal. Although the premise is initially promising (a combination of talking bugs, cheerful camaraderie, and scary-looking space aliens), there is little real action or suspense. In fact, the CIP summary effectively describes the predictable plot: ``When bugs from outer space land during the annual Bug Ball, the earth bugs are initially frightened but eventually invite them to stay for the dancing and the crowning of the King and Queen Bug.'' Other details include the hint of a romance between the narrator and a beautiful butterfly, the role of the narrator and his friend Hercules in convincing the earth insects to accept the aliens, and their amused relief when they realize that the visitors dance as they do: clumsily. Despite the charming pencil-and-watercolor illustrations and worthwhile message about the importance of communication and understanding, it's unlikely that children will enjoy this low-key story. Check out books by Mark Teague or Daniel Pinkwater for humorous, out-of-this-world adventures.-Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
The beetle narrator of this adventure has just left his friend Hercules and arrived at the Bug Ball when insects from outer space land on Hercules' island home. The two earthbound insects befriend the aliens, who take them for a ride in the spaceship and write a message in a giant spider's web they weave across the sky. All ends happily, with dozens of aliens and earthlings dancing together at the Bug Ball. Delicately shaded and detailed, the watercolor artwork provides fascinating views of the robotic-looking space insects and their romantically costumed counterparts from earth. Although the plot's predictable, the text maintains a conversational tone that will keep readers' interest.