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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
The Queen Who Banished Bugs: A Tale of Bees, Butterflies, Ants and Other Important Pollinators is an educational picture book for children written by Ferris Kelly Robinson and illustrated by Mary Ferris Kelly. King Claude and Queen Libertine ruled over a beautiful and fertile land until, one day, the queen decided that she hated bugs. It all started with a tiny sweet bee that landed on her foot. Enraged at its boldness and audacity, Queen Libertine promptly killed it, and she declared war on all insects -- even ladybugs and butterflies. Bats and snakes didn’t escape her wrath either. You see, Queen Libertine had her own sense of value and proportion. She loved the berries and fruits that King Claude fed her, but alas she never realized that by banning and killing all the insects, those lovely fruits would disappear.
The Queen Who Banished Bugs eloquently demonstrates how even the creepy, crawly bugs that bite and make little ones very nervous play a crucial part in our natural growing cycle. Robinson’s story is droll and quite funny at times in spite of the awfulness of the Queen’s attack on all insects. Seeing King Claude cower and wring his hands at the antics of his dreadful queen is guaranteed to get giggles from young listeners. Mary Ferris Kelly’s illustrations work splendidly with the story and enhance the mood of this book. Each panel is filled with details sure to catch observant young eyes. From the shocked looks on the doomed insects’ faces to the unhappy faces that adorn Queen Libertine’s skirts, Kelly makes each picture work so very well. I loved her creative use of crayon and line. Every so often, one encounters an artist whose work inspires others, makes others feel as though they too can draw or sketch. Mary Ferris Kelly’s artwork does that and more. The Queen Who Banished Bugs is a great selection for storytime, especially before a class outing or picnic where insect guests are a given. This book goes a long way to teach kids how each living being plays a part in our world. The Queen Who Banished Bugs is most highly recommended.