Cover image for Bug boys
Bug boys
1st RH Graphic ed.

1st American ed.
Physical Description:
259 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 21 cm.
General Note:
"Originally published in the United States in black and white and in different form by Czap Books, Providence, Rhode Island, in 2015."
Reading Level:
270 Lexile.
Added Author:
Follows two bug friends, Stag-B and Rhino-B, as they explore their world and share adventures.


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Rhino-B is a brash, but sweet guy. Stag-B is a calm and scholarly adventurer. Together these two young beetles make up the Bug Boys, best friends who spend their time exploring the world of Bug Village and beyond, as well as their own - sometimes confusing and complicated - thoughts and feelings.

In their first adventure, the Bug Boys travel through spooky caves, work with a spider to found a library, save their town's popular honey supply from extinction, and even make friends with ferocious termites!

What challenges will these two earnest beetles face? Whatever it is, you can be sure that Rhino-B and Stag-B will face it together -- with the power of friendship behind them.

Author Notes

Laura Knetzger graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 2012. She has worked as a storyboard artist for Adventure Time. She lives in Seattle and makes comics about feelings. You can find her online at https-// or @LauraKnetzger.

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3--6--Meet the Bug Boys. Rough-and-tumble Rhino-B and studious bibliophile Stag-B are best friends who love exploring Bug Village. This warm, tender volume is full of loosely connected stories of the two beetles' adventures. Rhino-B and Stag-B discover hidden treasures in nature, revel in their differences, and express gratitude for their friendship. Their encounters with other creatures, including bees, termites, spiders, a dragonfly, and a mole, help them learn lessons. A surreal tale sees each beetle immersed in either depression or mania and emerging from the experience thanks to the embrace of friendship--a theme echoed throughout the book. No matter what the problem is, the solution always involves characters clearly communicating and discussing their feelings, and though the beetles and their friends may disagree, they are quick to forgive and celebrate one another. Knetzger's upbeat cartoons are bathed in bright greens, yellows, and pinks, with some dark blues and black--the perfect palette for a natural setting. VERDICT This gentle romp through nature will be paradise for readers, who will find themselves wishing they could be the third beetle in the Bug Boys' group.--Thomas Maluck, Richland Library, SC

Publisher's Weekly Review

Knetzger's graphic novel, the first in a planned duology, stars two friends: Rhino-B, a tenderhearted rhinoceros beetle, and erudite stag beetle Stag-B, who live together in a mushroom cottage. The first of several episodes starts out low-key as the bug boys follow a treasure map--and find only an old copper necklace. ("Well, at least we had fun," Rhino-B says.) But excitement ramps steadily upward even as the tone remains introspective, and the two are soon helping to untangle a tense feud between bees and termites, and encountering phosphorescent energy that leads them on a hallucinatory cave journey. Throughout, Knetzger, formerly a storyboard artist for Adventure Time, renders the friends and their surroundings in clean lines and gentle pastels, giving the pages a distinctive visual signature. As the vignettes proceed, the volume tackles sophisticated themes--everything from social history ("Our Bug Village was founded by refugees of your war," Stag-B says) to personal beliefs ("Wishing to it calms me and makes me feel better") and metaphysics ("your mind is the smallest denomination of world 'cause only you live in it"). Lying beneath Knetzger's rich bug universe is the quiet reminder that even parts of the environment that appear simple or insignificant may reveal a world every bit as complex as our own. Ages 7--10. (Feb.)

Kirkus Review

In this quiet graphic novel, two beetle buddies share gentle adventures.Rhino-B is a bold rhinoceros beetle who lives with his BFF, a stag beetle named Stag-B, in their charming mushroom home in Bug Village. In a series of vignettes, the duo experience their world by visiting the Insects' Library, maintained by their friend Dome Spider; helping a neighboring beehive to obtain a lost crown from treacherous termites; and exploring the Deep Dirt Cave with Dome Spider and finding themselves in a bizarrely psychedelic moment. The beetles' exploits may be unusual, but their friendship and its dynamics are familiar. While episodic, their adventures are low-key, with a meditative feel and an emphasis on staying focused in the present; one night, as the bugs gaze into the night sky, reflecting on anxieties around growing up, Stag-B sagely asserts, "The Earth is big and life is long. Just appreciate where you are now." Readers looking for fast pacing or plot-driven works may be put off by the insistent introspection, but it will hit the spot for quieter readers. Knetzger's background as a storyboard artist for the cartoon Adventure Time is highly visible, sharing its playfully absurdist feel throughout and even its dreamy pastel-hued aesthetic (supplied by Lynde). Rhino-B and Stag-B both identify as male.A whimsical rumination on friendship and being present in the moment. (beetle facts) (Graphic fantasy. 7-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Rhino-B and Stag-B are two beetle buddies from Bug Village who frequently end up adventuring through their quirky world of quasi-anthropomorphic critters. In nine stand-alone chapters, they hunt for buried treasure, evade capture by giants (humans), learn about the library, explore an ocean cave, attend their coming-of-age ceremony, work through a big fight, dissolve tensions between warring termite and honeybee nations, undergo metaphysical transformations in an underground labyrinth, and more. With the help of their community and friends, the two beetles explore, quest, and adventure, often leaving readers with a beautiful reflection on friendship or feelings always in a wonderfully surprising, light-hearted manner. Knetzger, a former storyboard artist for TV's Adventure Time, brings a similar blend of friendship, humor, and heart to her own world, and the show's influence is clear in this work's overall style and tone, as well. Quick pacing, spare text in large type, and simple character design cater to early elementary readers, with the episodic structure offering a more manageable experience. It also makes for quicker and richer character development and world building than a single overarching plot would provide. Kids are going to love these characters, which is good, as more stories are already in the works. An absolutely delightful gateway into comics for the Saturday-morning cartoon crowd.--Ronny Khuri Copyright 2020 Booklist