The Firefly Warriors Club

Hastings Creations Group. (Texas Boys Adventures: Bk. 1). Oct. 2020. 202p. pap. $8.99. ISBN 9780997088328.
Gr 3-5–Two cousins find themselves in a Texas-sized adventure. Twelve-year-old Davy is looking forward to a week visiting his grandpa at his farm. All Davy wants to do during his vacation is ride horses, read, and learn even more about bugs. He is especially interested in fireflies, which are becoming more scarce in Texas. Davy’s hope for a peaceful week is dashed by the arrival of his 10-year-old cousin, Anderson. A sidekick can be a good thing, though, as the boys find themselves investigating a mysterious orb of light in the woods. Soon they have a new mission for the week ahead—save the fireflies and their habitat from being destroyed. The young ecowarriors come up with a plan that just might work, if they can get their grandpa and his neighbors on board. But when a fire endangers the neighboring farms and the fireflies’ woods, the boys realize saving them won’t be as easy as they hoped. Despite its contemporary setting, the story has an old-fashioned feel, putting the reader in the mind of classic characters like Beverly Cleary’s Henry Huggins and Robert McCloskey’s Homer Price. Readers will have to suspend disbelief as the cousins communicate with and understand the fireflies they encounter, and there are a few too many over-the-top action moments during the fire to be believable. There aren’t many physical descriptions, other than Anderson having red hair, but the occasional line illustrations depict the boys as white. Anderson dresses like a stereotypical cowboy with a hat, a button-down shirt and boots. He also carries a tomahawk he made, and likens himself on more than one occasion to an Apache warrior.
VERDICT An updated take on classic adventure novels, marred by problematic appropriation of Indigenous tools and identity.

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