Scholastic will publish a “innovative and genre-busting” companion volume to M G Leonard’s acclaimed Beetle Boy as an “in-world, non-fiction introduction to the wonderful world of beetles”.
The Beetle Collector’s Handbook will follow up Leonard’s award-winning debut which was published by Chicken House in March 2016, as a “covetable, full-colour hardback companion” with a description of every beetle in the original.
Miriam Farbey, UK publisher and global non-fiction publisher at Scholastic, made the deal for world with Kirsty McLachlan at David Godwin Associates. It will be published in summer 2018.
In the middle-grade Beetle Boy series, Darkus Cuttle and his friends learn everything they needed to know about beetles from a book, The Beetle Collector’s Handbook, passed down from Darkus’s father. The title is described in the original book as “an old red book with a gold stag beetle embossed on the cover”.
Leonard revealed she had researched insects extensively for a decade whilst writing Beetle Boy, for which editors Barry Cunningham and Rachel Leyshon won the Branford Boase Award last month along with Leonard.
The Brighton-based author, who is also freelance digital media producer, said: “I am over the moon to be able to use the entomological research and learning I’ve acquired during the writing of my beetle trilogy, to create a non-fiction book for beetle lovers everywhere, reminiscent of the nature books published in the early twentieth century.”
She described Scholastic as the “perfect publisher” to frame her fictional narrative with fact.
She said: “Scholastic immediately understood my vision, my desire that the wonderful facts be framed by a fictional narrative that relates to the Beetle Boy stories, and I know they’re the perfect publisher to produce the beautiful book readers and beetles deserve.”
McLachlan praised Scholastic’s ability to conjure a ‘world within a world’. She said: “I couldn’t be happier that Miriam and her team are publishing Maya’s [Leonard's] first non-fiction book. The combination of great passion and professionalism meant Scholastic was the obvious choice for Maya’s ‘world within a world’.”
Farbey predicted tens of thousands of fans would clamour to read the volume. She said: “In a truly innovative and genre-busting idea, M. G. Leonard has created the in-world nonfiction book from her brilliant and bestselling Beetle Boy series, with margin notes scribbled by Darkus Cuttle himself. This will have huge appeal for tens of thousands of M G Leonard's existing fans, and for young nature lovers everywhere.”
Leonard’s fictional follow-ups to Beetle Boy, Beetle Queen, was published in April 2017 and Battle of the Beetles follows in January 2018, both published by Chicken House.