Ever get the Diamond comic previews and, while flipping through, see a book you've never heard of by a creator you've never heard of, but whose premise is so fascinating that you just have to give it a go sight unseen? Such it was with me and "Last of the Sandwalkers," and I don't regret it for an instant.
On its most basic level, this is a book about bugs who go on a trip and find adventures. But that's like saying "Watership Down" is a book about bunnies who go on a trip and find adventures. And while Sandwalkers isn't quite as dire as "Watership Down," it does share that book's ability to be enjoyed by young and old.
Lucy believes there is other life outside the walls of Coleopolis, a city of beetles. So she and her band of scientists and explorers (Raef, Mossy and Professor Bombardier), along with their grumpy financier, set off past the ruins of a city that was destroyed by the gods and into the desert in search of knowledge.
One of the truly delightful things about this book is that it walks an incredibly fine line, having its characters talk in scientific terms quite often and explaining definitions from time to time, while never getting boring, making the information feel textbook-y or losing the character of the people... er, beetles doing the talking. the dialogue is clever, the art cute and easy to follow, and the characters fascinating if sometimes a bit broad.
So, these folks are traveling out across the desert when they come across an astounding find - a human skeleton half buried in the sand. They document it and call for moths to come pick it up. But before the moths can arrive, the expedition's financier, Professor Owen, betrays the group (it is sudden, but also inevitable) and takes the discovery back to the city under his own name.
This is good and bad. Bad because, well, he's lying and betraying the group, and it puts them in danger. But in a way it's good, because through this, Lucy and her group find themselves in a new place, meeting a variety of fascinating new life forms as they try to work out how to get home. They even meet new allies.
This was a great book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I also learned a bit about beetles and spiders along the way. :) If you or someone you know - even or maybe especially kids - likes bugs or just doesn't mind them and likes learning, give this book a try. It's a delight.