Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective: The Big Swat
David Biedrzycki, author & illustrator
David Biedrzycki has been creating illustrations for book publishers, advertising agencies, magazines, and design firms since 1980. His art has graced the cover of KidSoft magazine, New England Aquarium billboards and children's software packaging, such as "The Amazon Trail" and "Odell Down Under." His clients include Celestial Seasonings®, After the Fall Juices(tm), IBM, and Newsweek.
Read more about David Biedrzycki.
- Bank Street College of Education's Best Children's Books of the Year
Can an insect shamus solve the case of the missing bat? Motham City is abuzz with the surprise success of its (usually pathetic) baseball team, the Stinkbugs, led by rookie Bugsy Goldwing. But disaster strikes when somebody steals Bugsy's bat. Bugsy's surrogate mother, Madame Damselfly, turns to Motham's most famous gumshoe, Ace Lacewing. With sultry Gal Friday Xerces (a green-haired butterfly beauty), the hard-boiled Ace questions Bugsy's fellow orphans-turned-rivals Big Mickey Mantis, Derek Skeeter, Fly Cobb et al., and even travels with the team for their final away game before the playoffs. After an attack on the Stinkbugs coach, Ace is able to unravel the mystery in time for the team to rally and win the game. Part mystery, part sports novel, part spoof, Biedrzycki's sublime fable is also full of fun insect facts. His generous text, narrated by Ace in vintage Chandler fashion, may suit an older age group than his Photoshop illustrations, but both have appeal.
School Library Journal
This adventure takes the buggy private investigator into the world of baseball. Bugsy Goldwing, the star rookie player for the Stinkbugs, Motham City's home team, has his lucky bat stolen right before a big game, and Ace is hired to find it. The trail takes him to ballparks and locker rooms throughout the league. The complicated story unravels slowly and reveals the thief to be Bugsy's competition for the MVP award. The bat is found cracked. But Bugsy realizes that it's not the bat; it's his ability and he knocks the ball out of the park. The case is solved. The Photoshop-produced illustrations are crisp and colorful, although in rather flat hues. The story has a noir feel to it, as the detectives all wear trench coats and talk tough. The lengthy text is laden with insect jokes, puns, and bug names and the plot is rather convoluted. Nonetheless, fans of the previous two Ace Lacewing titles will enjoy this one.
Ace Lacewing returns to solve his third mystery, this time in the world of baseball. Madame Damselfly comes to see Ace about a serious problem; rookie stinkbug Bugsy Goldwing's lucky bat has been stolen and he can't hit without it. Bugsy grew up in Madame Damselfly's Lil'l Larva Orphanage, which is known for turning out Bug League players. Narrationg this noir parody, Ace, with his sidekicks Xerces and Sergeant Zito, investigates each of Bugsy's fellow orphans and ball players, Derek Skeeter, Big Hoppy Leafhopper, Mickey Mantis, and Fly Cobb, to look for clues and find the culprit. The text is chock full of puns and wordplay that will engage a reader, e.g., "I could have been a fly on the wall. I settled for being a lacewing in a towel cart." The brightly colored digital, cartoon style illustrations robustly depict this insect world and are full of fun details to discover, e.g., a depictionof Stinkbug Stadium includes crazed fans shown on the "Bug-o-Tron" and sports billboards including "Got milkweed?" "Fresh Dung Poop Corn," and an ad for "No Larva Left Behind." Despite the long text, insects, baseball, and mystery are the perfect combo for an exciting story with a satisfying conclusion that will appeal to those with a longer attention span.
Library Media Connection
Bugsy Goldwing is the powerhouse hitter for the Motham City Stinkbugs, but when his lucky bat turns up missing just before the big playoff game, it's time for bug detective Ace Lacewing to step in to solve the mystery. This third in the series of insect detective stories allows young readers to experience the mystery-detective genre through the picture book format. A miniaturized spoof of the dime-store detective novels from the 1940s, this title provides readers, both young and old, with the opportunity to step back in time when right triumphed over wrong and the bad bugs were squashed under the heel of justice. Using Adobe Photoshop, Biedrzycki creates an insect city filled with daily activities and amusements, mcu like those enjoyed by humans. Through clever descriptions and thoughtful personification, Biedrzycki easily lures the reader into a believable world where insects, such as Mickey Mantis, Derek Skeeter, and Fly Cobb, successfully compete in the all-American pastime. Word-play and an abundance of literary concepts are found throughout, making this story not onlt an enjoyable reading experience but also a unique medium for teaching literary elements.
Page count: 44
10 x 10