The Mosquito Brothers

illus. by Erica Salcedo. 128p. Groundwood. May 2015. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9781554984374; ebk. $9.95. ISBN 9781554984398.
Gr 2–4—The story of a frightened mosquito who longs to have adventures and fit in with his 400 siblings. After failed attempts to befriend the cool, older bugs at school, including close encounters with dragonflies and spider webs, Dinnn Needles gets the opportunity to travel to the Wild, where he faces even greater danger and learns that fitting in and accepting himself is about taking risks and helping others. The tone is sometimes odd as the narrator discusses issues such as Dinnn's father having to fill out 401 registrations leaves for school. Ondaatje's writing flows easily and includes some words that will challenge young readers. Facts about mosquitoes and dragonflies are peppered throughout the narrative without feeling out of place or superfluous. Throughout this fast-paced story, Dinnn experiences a complete character arc that will show young readers the upside of taking risks. Salcedo 's line drawings support passages that could otherwise be hard for children to visualize. The writing quality is on par with other adventure stories, but some children and parents may find descriptions of mosquitoes biting animals and dodging spiderwebs a bit too quirky.
VERDICT This action-packed tale will be a good purchase for large collections of early chapter books or as an additional purchase for most collections.

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